Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Baking Soda and Vinegar Experiment!

This week, my baby sister came home from school begging to build a volcano in the backyard.  Turns out that they had baking soda & vinegar experiments at school and she felt inspired.  It's been extra rainy here--and we tend to do messier projects on the patio--so volcano building was out of the question.

Today, though, I stumbled upon The Hippie Housewife's Baking Soda & Vinegar Trays and knew that the little ones would love it.  And of course they did!


All I did was fill some pyrex trays with baking soda, separate food-colored vinegar into separate containers, hand out syringes (that I had left over from when my kitty needed some antibiotics), and watch the fun.

It turned out to be a perfect post-dinner, pre-bedtime activity.

They were really into what colors they could make by mixing different colors and the texture of the baking soda after the bubbles had subsided.

An unplanned bonus was that because I used glass trays, they were able to see what the vinegar had done to the baking soda on the bottom of the tray.


You can see that one ended up much soupier than the other, but they both had so much fun.  They've already asked me when they can do it again!  

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Busy, busy, busy

Things have been crazy busy around here lately.  My family and I moved into a new, bigger house where we all finally have room to breathe.  It's got a pool, so the kids are super happy about that.

I got a teaching position at the university for this year, so I'm officially an English teacher.  It's got great benefits: experience and a nice stipend.

The wedding planning is still chugging along little by little.  It's kind of taken a back seat to the whole school thing, and I'm totally okay with that.  We'll see what the rest of the year holds.

Until next time, I leave you with this wonderful gif my fiance made of my friend Finn and me. Enjoy.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

A Beautiful Mermaid

I've got a little girl in my life who is positively obsessed with mermaids.  Trust me when I say that the girl eats, sleeps, and breathes mermaids.  When she encountered a little girl at a resort pool with a "real" mermaid tail, the girl went ballistic.  J couldn't talk about anything else for weeks.  With these tails running anywhere between $150 and $2k (depending on quality and materials), I knew that with lots of time, research, and trial-and-error, I could totally whip up a mermaid tail to satiate the girl.  And I was more successful than either of us were hoping for.

It holds up well in pool water for ridiculously extended periods of time (as this little girl has most certainly proven), it has a waterproof hard paddle made for optimal propulsion while swimming, it slides on and off with relative ease, and has glittery accents that make it pretty stinkin' cute (if I do say so myself).

My new mermaid and I spent weeks watching mermaid YouTube videos and scouring the internet to figure out exactly what details she wanted that would make her feel like a real mermaid.  Here's the result:


I haven't had the opportunity to take real photos (i.e. not from my cell phone) of the tail--coming soon!  After hours of very official mer-research, J decided that she wanted a dorsal fin (the little squiggly sparkly one that runs down the back), a ruffle wasteband (with elastic to keep it in place during swimming), and a floofy extra fin on the actual fin paddle part--I don't have a fun name for this one, but it looks SUPER flowy and pretty when she swims.

A matching mer-top is still on the to-do list.  Of course she wants in the the sparkly sequin pattern.  Once I'm done with that, J will have her whole mermaid get-up, and I'll post more photos.



Do you have a little girl in your life with the same mer-obsession?  These will soon make it into my etsy-shop, but until then, email me with price inquiries, sizing, and color options.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Monsters!

Summer around here means putting together as many activities for the gaggle of cousins as possible.  For me, that means a girls' summer sewing class while they boys go off for some pool time.  I've been scouring Pinterest for fun and easy projects for beginner sewers (that's of course \ˈsō-ərs\ and not \ˈsü-ərs\).  I've found lots of cute little ideas, mostly for their American Girl dolls.  But Revoluzzza's monster tutorial has been a favorite.  It was a great project because they were able to practice sewing with the machine and by hand.




It was super fun--and the girls loved it--because they were able to personalize their little monster however they wanted.  Because he uses so little fabric, I was able to pull out all my scraps, so they had plenty of options.  We even had a vampire monster! The girls had such a great time creating their little monsters, one of the boys decided he needed one too.


All five of these monsters were created COMPLETELY by the kids.  I directed, I ironed around the corners to prevent little burned fingers, and I did a little seam ripping when necessary, but these kids did a great job doing everything else completely on their own.  


Do you have any other beginner sewing projects that would be a great option for these crazy kids? 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Strawberry Pie

I had the opportunity to bust out the pie maker today--finally.  With our new big family--we're seven now, plus the fiance--I had to make two batches of these, but we had a giant bucket of strawberries that were on their way out so it was perfect.

I used  about 18 strawberries, which is all we had.  Next time, I'll make sure I have more.  The last three had to have a marshmellow filler because I didn't have enough strawberries left.  The marshmellow filler was also delicious, though.  So no harm done.

I made the filler with the strawberries, a couple tablespoons of sugar, a tablespoon or two of flour to thicken, some lemon juice and lemon zest.
Delicioso! 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Sewing Away

I am thoroughly enjoying my semester off and have been spending about 15 hours a week behind my sewing machine.

I'm working on some goodies to post in my etsy shop. I'm also hoping to put together a catalog before school starts. Once the semester begins, I'll be a busy girl: teaching, studying, and wedding planning.

Here's what my life has looked like the last couple weeks. Doesn't it look glamorous?

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Colorful Kitten Knit

Yesterday I stumbled across some fabric that I just couldn't resist.  When I bought it I wasn't quite sure I was going to do with it, but I soon decided that I needed a fun--albeit slightly obnoxious--crazy cat lady infinity scarf.  I absolutely love it.

I had just enough fabric to make two of these beauties.  I think that it might just be the first item in my etsy shop.

I mean, who could resist some colorful kitten knit, right? 

Monday, July 2, 2012

Reusable Sandwich Bags! {Tutorial}

My two baby cousins ("baby" being 6 and 8) recently moved in with my family and me.  With my brother and I being both over 20, my parents had pretty much thought that their time with younger kids was over.  They thought they were done with school supply shopping and summer camps and packed lunches and toy chests.  How wrong they were.

While these kids are stinkin' awesome (which might be the understatement of the century), having little kids around has definitely been a financial burden that my parents weren't expecting.  While my momma is a HUGE couponer--she is constantly surprising me with "Hey! Check out what I got for free at the grocery store today!"--I figured there are other ways that I can help out (you know, aside from hours helping with homework and tying shoes and all that stuff.

I got the idea to make some reusable sandwich bags (those ziplocks add up, for sure!) when a friend of the family gave us a giant package of toilet paper.  It was brilliant!  I mean, obviously two more people in the house means two more butts that need wiping and that means more money to to buy paper.  It was one of those gifts that was completely unexpected and also completely helpful.

I found about a trillion different tutorials online via google and pinterest, but none of them seemed like the best way to go about it.  These bags are lined with a plastic tablecloth.  For me and my family, we have no problem eating off of plastic of this sort, but this is a call you need to make for your own family.

With all that said, here's my tutorial for the reusable sandwich bags that have already gotten plenty of mileage.  It might take you a couple of days (it's a pretty tedious project), but they're definitely worth it! They're perfect for trips to the beach and the pool and the zoo and the library and anywhere else where a quick lunch needs to be packed.

Supply List (makes 25 reusable bags)
-Fabric Bundle ($5 with a 50% off coupon from Joann's)
-Coordinating Ribbon
-2 or 3 loops of Hook & Loop Fasteners (Velcro that Joann's sells for 99 cents a yard in loops)
-Coordinating (or contrasting, depending on preference) thread
-1 plastic tablecloth in a coordinating color ($1 from the Dollar Tree)

Prep
Iron the fabric from your bundle.

Cut 50 three-inch pieces of your coordinating ribbon.  The ribbons are going to be used as pull handles so that little hands will be able to open the reusable sandwich bags.


Step One
I laid out the Fabric Bundle that comes with five different coordinating fabrics.  Then, I layered the plastic table cloth so that are five layers of plastic--one for each layer of fabric.  I used my handy-dandy rotary blade to even out the edges and then cut them like this:

This has five layers of fabric and five layers of plastic tablecloth.
Step Two
The next step is to sew one layer of fabric right-side to the plastic table cloth.  

I used a 1/4" inseam.
Sewn right sides together

A Quick Note: I found that it was easiest to do one step at a time.  That means that I sewed 25 bags right side together.  Then did step two 25 times, then moved on to step three.  I found that it helped me keep everything organized. 

Step Three
Pull them right-side out.  It's important to be really careful when you're pulling them all right-side out; the plastic is a little delicate.
Twenty-five pieces, all pulled right-side out. 
Step Four
This is by far the most delicate step: you've gotta iron them all flat.  Ironing is an extremely perilous step because (duh!) you're ironing plastic.  Thin plastic that melts VERY easily.  So you're going to want to set your iron to the lowest temperature possible, and only place the iron to the fabric for a second at a time.  Here I've got to mention the importance of ironing on the FABRIC side and not on the plastic side.  

Ironed fabric!
Step Five
Fold the raw edges of the fabric and the plastic in on both sides and iron (again, being careful to be quick and iron on the fabric side only).  These edges are eventually going to come together to make the opening--you know, where you put all your tasty snacks.

Raw edges folded and ironed
Step Six
Fold a ribbon piece, then pin it in between the fabric and the plastic on the raw edges that you just folded and ironed in Step Five.


Stack of 25 bags folded, ironed, and ribboned
Step Seven
Cut your velcro--I mean, hook & loop fasteners.  You want it to run along the entire length of your sandwich bag (read: the side with the ribbon).

Here I used some stick-on velcro that I had
lying around.  They're no fun.  They gunk up
the needle.  Go for the sew-on kind.
Once you've got the velcro pinned on there, you're going to sew it on.  I did once across the top of the velcro, and once across the bottom.  Don't worry to sew the sides up right now--we're going to do that later.  The stitch across the top of the velcro is going to secure the ribbon, attach the velcro, and secure the open flap shut.

Step Eight
Stick your velcro together on each bag.  This is what your final product will look like.  Then stitch up each side like so: 
Step Nine
Sit back and admire your beautiful reusable sandwich bags.  They should last a couple of uses before you need to wash them.  When the time comes, wash with cold water and lay flat to dry.  You DO NOT want to stick these things in the dryer.  I predict a gooey plasticy mess.

For this project, I made one boy set (seen above) and one girly set sewn with a pretty, dainty pink and yellow floral bundle I picked up for the same price.  We've got a little boy and a little girl who, come Fall, are going to have the most stylist lunches around. 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Brothers

On our family vacation to Pennsylvania, my cousin James fell in love with a family friend, Vaughn.  They decided that they're honorary brothers.  And they're stinkin' cute.

We spent the last two days at a waterpark, and these conversations have been going on all week:

James: Hey brother, do you wanna go on the lazy river?
Vaughn: Yes, brother.  Let's go!

They really couldn't be any cuter if they tried.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Baby Care Package: A Pinterest Cornucopia

A very dear friend of mine had a baby this week.  Because she lives far away from me, I knew that I wanted to send her and her new baby girl, Mckenzie, a fun package in the mail.  "Where does one go for baby fun inspiration?" you ask? Pinterest of course!

It was a great week for me to bust out the sewing machine, hit Joann's with some serious coupons, and spend the week sewing and watching Law & Order: SVU reruns.  

The Inspiration! 
I absolutely positively fell in love with these two coordinating fabrics at Joann's.  I've kind of a got a thing for elephants, so any time I see adorable elephant fabric, I can't resist.  While I should have checked who made them, I was blinded by my excitement of these girly elephants and didn't bother to check.  After discovering these great fabrics, I knew that I wanted to make a whole suite.  Four yards of fabric later, this is what I've got.

Let us embark on a Pinterest journey! 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Confession: A Failed Sewing Project Resurrected

 I wanted to make a couple of cute care packages for a few friends of mine who are either new mommies or mommies to be.  Perusing through Pinterest for ideas on what to put in my care packages, I came across this tutorial by Martha on how to make Washcloth Puppets.  I thought they were wonderfully perfect!  I downloaded her template and rushed out to target to grab a couple of $2 hand towels to get started.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Car Seat Swaddle

Perusing Pinterest, I came across The Complete Guide to Imperfect Homemaking's tutorial for a Hooded Car Seat Blankie. As it just so happens, I know a beautiful newborn baby boy who loves loves loves to be swaddled.  It looked like the perfect afternoon project (I've been suffering from sewing withdrawals).

It's a great tutorial that shows how to make a swaddle that allows baby to be buckled up in the car seat and swaddled at the same time.  The wonderfully brilliant fabric that I found in Joann's made this project all the more fun! Aren't those elephants darling?

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Some Healthy Eatin'

As the wedding quickly approaches (less than seven months, guys!), I decided--as I'm sure almost all brides do--that I most definitely have a few pounds that I can spare.  With the idea of wedding photos lasting into eternity looming over, I thought that this would be the prime time.

My usual go-to lunch is a pizza bagel, which is obviously not conducive to my "lose 30 pounds by December" plan.  Thus, inspired by my new favorite mommy blog Oh Dear Drea and her photojournalistic endeavor Things on Toast, I stuck my head in my fridge and thought:  "What tasty things can I throw on some wheat thins and call it a lunch?"

The answer: 
-two tablespoons low fat ricotta cheese
-spinach (because I didn't have any basil)
-grape tomatoes
-sprinkling of balsamic vinaigrette

Super success, I'd say.  And at 200 calories, it's being added to the list of healthy, easy, and fast lunches. 

Friday, May 11, 2012

My Very Own Pillowcase Dress Tutorial

A few weeks ago, I scored this beautiful vintage pillowcase at one of my favorite thrift stores.  It was 50 cents, and I couldn't have been more excited.  I knew that I wanted to make a dress for my favorite toddler.  To my utter dismay, I struggled to find a single tutorial that showed me how to make a pillowcase dress out of an actual pillowcase.  They were all tutorials on how to make a dress that looked like it was made out of a pillowcase.

So I pulled out my sewing kit and determined to figure it out myself.  And--ta da!--I think it came out stinkin' adorable.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Easy Peasy Bow Tutorial

Today I worked on a gorgeous little pillowcase dress (tutorial forthcoming) out of a vintage floral pillowcase for my baby cousin.  Once I was done with the dress, I had a bit of fabric left.  I know that her mommy likes to put baby girl in pigtails with matching hairbows, so I knew that's what I needed in order to complete her new outfit.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Kindle Makeover

Can you see the residual nail polish
and the serious scratches?  No fun. 
I must start this post by saying that I love my kindle touch.  It's my "if you were stuck on a deserted island and could only bring one item" item.  Having all of my books in one spot that fits in my purse (I've got the Bible AND Don Quixote in a clutch!) is fantastic.  I bought the lighted leather case, which is great.  But the problem I've run into (and this might be because I'm a little neurotic when it comes to things like this) is that the case gets scratched too easily for my comfort.  Admittedly, I did get some nail polish on my case while painting my nails.  It needed to get fixed.

I Love Summer!

The ocean, some Strongbow, lots of sunshine, a big hat and good friends is what summer is all about.

Too bad I've only got a week left before summer semester.


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Are you a Coupon-er?

Whether you're an experienced couponer or just getting started, I've got something for you!

My mom jumped on the coupon band wagon (with great success, might I add) and asked me to create a pretty table of contents and matching dividers for her coupon binder.  Lucky for her is lucky for you!

I created a pink version and a grey version with a pretty Eiffel Tower motif.

Click.  Print.  Save $$.

And good luck!


Are you a crazy coupon-er? Do you have any expert tips I can pass on to my mommy?

Sneetches.

Finishing up a paper on Dr. Seuss for class (Klonked, Bonked, Jerked, Berked, & Bopped: Scalar Implicatures in Dr. Seuss, for interested parties), and would like to take a quick moment to do a couple of things:

1. Say, I STINKIN' LOVE DR. SEUSS.  I know that I am in no way unique for having a love of Dr. Seuss (my favorite being There's a Wocket in my Pocket), but he is always able to put a smile on my face.  Those silly wockets.

2. Express a gratitude for being in a Master's program that allows me to pick my own subject matter.  As a general rule, I refuse to work with a piece of literature that I don't love.  Why on earth would I chose to work on War & Peace (sorry, Tolstoy fans), when I can write about Yertle the Turtle and the Sneetches?

3. Bask in the possibilities of summer that lie ahead.  Will I spend the next two weeks (before I head back to school) doing some sewing work that I've been dying to finish, soak up some sunshine, or going on adventures with the fiance and my cousins?  Who knows?  Oh, the possibilities.

Wish me luck on this paper and my last final.

Anyone else have big (or small!) plans for their summertime?

Monday, April 30, 2012

Quick Update:


Playhouse was a huge success!  Baby girl immediately took all of her new birthday toys, brought them into her playhouse (note Dora the Explorer and Backpack), and wouldn't come out.  I definitely won the birthday gift game.  Yay!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Peanut Buttery, Chocolately, Sweet & Salty Pretzel Wonderfulness

If the way to a man's heart is through his stomach, these are most definitely what caught me my fiance.  I found the recipe for these tasty creations on 17 and Baking's blog via Pinterest a while ago.

I know that if the fiance has had a bad day or needs a pick me up, this is the way to do it.

I made a huge batch this weekend and, I kid you not, I only had the opportunity to eat TWO before everyone else snorked them down!

They are a tasty combination of peanut butter, confectioner's sugar, brown sugar, butter, and vanilla extract smushed between two pretzels, then dipped in chocolate for good measure.  Yum!

Pop on over to 17 and Baking and check out her recipe.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

A Matching Wreath Set

As a reward for finishing up two out of my four classes, I granted myself an hour to do ONE project before hitting the books again for my final test and paper.  I had bought all of the ingredients for a wreath last week to match the monogram one I had made a couple of month ago, so I thought that it was about time to finally make it!

Instead of a monogram, this time I put our hour address on the wreath.  The florals were all Spring Clearance at Joann's.  I'm so happy with how they came out.

We have plenty of holiday wreaths--Christmas, Easter, birthdays, etc.  But we were missing out on a cute every-day-that-isn't-a-holiday wreath.  And I think these came out wonderfully.

Do you have any pretty wreath designs for a not-a-holiday wreath?  I'd love some new ideas!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Yummy Frittatas: A New Use for my Cupcake Maker

Today I discovered a new use for my cupcake maker!!  I wanted to make some frittatas, but I didn't feel like waiting for my entire oven to heat.  I used whatever ingredients I had in my fridge, mixed 'em up, and poured them into my cupcake maker.  I used six eggs, some milk to make 'em fluffy, cilantro (our favorite!), shredded cheddar cheese, whatever bacon bits we had left, a couple of scoops of salsa (because I didn't feel like slicing onions and tomatoes), and a pinch of salt and pepper.  I love recipes like this because there's really no measuring and it's hard to screw up.  Also, they're beautiful.

Have you discovered any innovative ways to use your cupcake maker? I'd love to hear what you've come up with!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

I need this semester to be over. Like, two weeks ago.

I am so disenchanted with school, I can't stand it!  I am counting down the days until this semester is over.  It's not many, but it's way too many.  Ugh. Anyway, here's a list of all the things that I want to do when I wrap up this semester:
-An ocean themed playhouse
-A matching wreath with our address on it
-A little birdie mobile for a friend's baby shower
-Some other fun mobiles for my (soon-to-be) etsy shop
-A looong bubble bath and a tall glass of wine

Send some happy thoughts and some serious smarts my way to get me through this semester.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Vodka & Lexicography

It is 1:17 in the morning and I am still working on homework.  I've got a glass of vodka and a stack of textbooks in front of me that still need my attention.  I've got to be up at 9:00 to take baby girl to the library for story time.  I was hoping to have a pillow case dress done for her to wear tomorrow (I found the most gorgeous vintage 70's pillowcase at a thrift store for fifty cents), but that definitely isn't going to happen.  Maybe next week.

The fiance and I are trying to work out a trip to Nashville this summer to get school/work/house sorted out post-wedding, and I found it to be surprising stressful to think about.

Send me some good vibes for exam week and papers and homework and all that.  Some sewing crafts this weekend should do a good job of calming me down and clearing my head.

I can't wait until this semester is over.  Cheers.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Nursery Set Preview:

A good friend of mine is having a baby shower very soon.  While I picked up something that she registered for, I always feel like sometime handmade is so much more meaningful.  Plus, I relish the opportunity to create something for a baby girl's nursery that isn't pink.

I think the green and brown paisley is feminine without being overly girly, and I am so excited to create some fun things to help both mommy and baby.

Here's a little preview of something I'm working on right now.  Once exam week month is over, I'll have more time to sit down and create everything I have in mind for the shower (I hope).