Saturday, September 6, 2014

I just love these City Gym Shorts over at The Purl Bee. There is a link on the page to the free pattern.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Monster truck birthday cake and homemade boot covers


Well, someone had his fifth birthday and requested a monster truck cake. After perusing some photos on Pinterest, I came up with this idea. I got new cars and a monster truck at the dollar store, washed them all really well (duh) and baked this cake. To make the hill, I just cut off the last fifth of the cake, crumbled it up and mixed it with a spoonful of frosting. I basically made cake pop filling, which is easy to mold and keeps its shape well. The cake was delicious, the frosting fudgy and cocoa-y. I used this recipe for the cake but doctored it up: swapped 1/4 cup of the flour for cocoa, added 1 1/2 T. instant coffee, and additional 1/4 t. salt. Jack also insisted on chocolate chips IN the batter. : ) The frosting recipe I got here. Aren't the best recipes sometimes the ones on the package?

These boots I picked up at Primark in Ireland. They are so like these booties, which I love--but mine were only four pounds--about $7. But it being winter here, I wanted more warmth from my shoes. So I thought I'd make some versatile boot covers/ legwarmers. 

I love using scraps of fabric and re-purposing items so they don't end up in the landfill. I had this old, X-tra large gray sweater lying around; I'd made the body of it into an eternity scarf for my sister two Christmases ago. 
These bootcovers were really easy to make. I kept the sleeve cuffs on and wear that side toward my knee, to keep them up. I narrowed the cuff around the long side (using chalk), sewed it up right sides together and hemmed the other side. Then I dyed them black.
They go well over other my other short boots too!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Camping on the Russian River

We had our first successful family camping trip along the Russian River in Guerneville. It was awesome. We had hot dogs and beans (classic, must haves for the first official camping excursion.) I taught Jack how to roast marshmallows, Adam had plenty of time outside, the hubs and I played dominoes until we got tired--at 8:30. It was great. We stayed at Johnson's Beach, and besides the loud group next to us (should have known better when we saw the half-empty bottle of Jim Beam on their picnic table--rookie mistake) it was quiet and very family-friendly. I even saw two mamas breastfeeding on our drive in! 

Friday, August 30, 2013

Last days of summer

 Easy sewing project for a four-year-old/ mess maker/ glasses=officially old/ smiles on the grass in San Francisco/ Daddy and his ocean

Friday, August 16, 2013

Scalloped shorts

I love these new scalloped shorts of mine. I made them from an old pair of capri pants. I used this amazing tutorial which uses a skirt, but can be easily adapted for shorts. They are a liiiitle short for me, but it gets pretty hot around here, so I feel like they work!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Lazy days of summer

Well, we had our first blackberry picking of the year. It strikes me how tired I look in this photo (and yet the boys look so well-rested, hmmm.) It was fun picking berries, but kind of tricky with a baby in a front-carry baby carrier. I was so worried his little legs were going to get scratched by thorns that I didn't get the large amount of berries I'm used to getting. But it was good having him so close at the same time, since whenever I picked a blackberry that was too soft to toss in the basket, it went right in his mouth! This is him after I cleaned up his face (mostly.) Jack got good and juicy.

 Here are some art projects that Jack came up with. He's into creating landscapes and pasting things on top of them. The first one is a forest, the second, dinosaurs of course. I love the pterodactyl. And look, it's even got a volcano!

 Finally, these are some shorts I made. I got so sick of trying on shorts in stores that were just too short or too long or too old-lady-looking, I just made my own. I used a pair of pajama pants as a pattern and followed this tutorial for attaching the elastic. I always just tried to wing it with elastic before, which is ridiculous because my projects never really came out the way I wanted them too. It took like 5 minutes to watch the tutorial, and it's so fricking easy, I'm kicking myself for not learning this basic skill earlier. Still, there's something to be said for trying to figure something out on your own, no?

Not the snazziest material I know, but it was all I had a large enough quantity of (that's why I should always buy yards of fabric I love when I see it--duh.) But they are perfect for playing with the boys and going for walks in this heat.

Finally, a super easy, massive amount of time-filling activity for little ones. Get a big bowl of water, fill it halfway and have your 3-4 year-old gather little objects to see which ones will sink and which will float. We are on day three of this and Jack still loves it. As a bonus, he can now use the word 'hypothesis' in a sentence.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Decoupaged table with book pages

We'd been using this old table to hold some of Jack's toys in his room. Ugh, pretty depressing right?
I think I found it in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco when I was pregnant with him. Anyway, it REAAALLLY needed an update.

 See the fake wood bubbling? I knew it needed more than just a paint job. So I took it apart which was easy since it was just screwed together.

I thought about leaving the legs 'natural' since they still looked okay and thought it may add some interest. I did polish them up a bit with this restorer. Then I painted the top and bottom shelves green. I had some spray paint left over from this project.

Then I rummaged through Jack's books to find an old one with cool art. A few years ago I picked up a box of old books from a school sale. There were a few with pretty cool illustrations but that were otherwise pretty trashed (no covers, pages missing...) I thought this one would be perfect for this project.

 I measured the shelves and cut out a template for my paper 'tiles.' I needed 16 for the table. The book had exactly that many pages, including the title page. I probably wouldn't have included that one if I had enough pictures, but I think it actually looks pretty cool (and now we'll always know what book we used!)

 Then I painted the tops of the shelves (one at a time) with a thin coat of Mod Podge. You can find this in any craft store. I used the matte, but you can use whichever you prefer. I love this stuff.

I decided to start with the bottom shelf in case I ran into problems, I'd figure them out before I did the top. I'm glad I did this since my first attempt resulted in some major bubbling. After doing some research and messing around with the process, I found that I achieved the best results this way:

1. Paint a thin coat on your surface.
2. Position your paper where you want it.
3. Press it and smooth the paper down, concentrating on those edges! Do your best to get the bubbles out.
4. Wait for that bottom layer of Mod Podge to dry before...
5. Applying a top coat. Wait for that to dry.
6. Put two more coats on, waiting for the Podge to dry completely in between. Some coats took 20 minutes to dry, but it seemed as the layer got thicker it took longer.

And Voila! So much better!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Got my first Birchbox!

 Birchbox is a company that sends out a box of deluxe beauty samples to you every month, for a very reasonable $10/month subscription. This is my first one, but I am already awaiting August's. So far, I've just tried the coconut nourishing body cream (smells like heaven and stays put) and the Benefit Hello Flawless foundation (perfect shade for my skin and fun for dressing up.) Most of the products seem to be high end/ organic/ cruelty free, which is great. It reminds me of the little samples you get with your purchase at Sephora (or used to get, I should say.) Except you get way more things to try. Love it! So fun and so girly.

Friday, July 12, 2013

A dollar store puzzle and a galette--again

At a recent trip to the dollar store, I saw this 3-D dinosaur puzzle that comes with an actual machine to place inside it that makes it walk. I couldn't believe that something like this existed for $1, so I bought it just as a kind of joke, as in, yeah right, Dollar Store?!

Amazingly, it went together perfectly, with easy-to-follow instructions. And the thing actually walks. It's meant for ages 4 and up, but even I had a hard time with the tiny pieces. Too bad I just got around to making it-- I bought it weeks ago, and now I'm sure the store is out of them. They had cars that you could build and wind-up too, wish I'd gotten those as well...a good rainy day project.

And I can't stop making this cornmeal galette. This one is blueberry and yellow plum. It was yummy. (Very juicy though, as you can see. Thank goodness for parchment paper!)