Friday, April 12, 2013

A Fairy Village

I did kind of a silly thing. It was one of those things that seemed harmless, at first.

I introduced my daughter to Pinterest. Yes. My daughter, the one with big ideas already. To Pinterest. No obviously, I didn't (and don't) just let her loose. But one night while we were watching tv, I hopped on to Pinterest and she asked what I was doing. She snuggled up and we looked together. She was hooked. She's often asking if we can look at projects on Pinterest. I have, more than once, found her playing in her kitchen in the playroom, working on a recipe she "found on Pinterest." Yeah, its bad. :)

So one day, we cam across some beautiful fairy houses and villages. I'm sure you've seen them, there are such beautiful, organic, creations. This happened to be in the middle of Spring Break, we'd spend the previous 3 days at home. Sick. Strep Throat. Blech. So she was feeling (kinda) good, very restless and in need of a project. You know what's coming, right?

Our fairy village is not quite as organic as the ones I admired on Pinterest. My daughter likes bright, happy colors. I tried to lead her down the earth-tone paints with no success. She pointed out that, as we live in the desert its pretty much all earth-toned in our backyard and fairies would want something bright and happy. 

We cheated a little and didn't make our own houses out of things found in nature, the way you're supposed to. We went to the craft store and bought birdhouses. :) We spread out on the table and had some fun!

As you can see, we spared no expense at the craft store. No miniature  $1 bird houses for her. :) Thank goodness for my 40% coupon! We also picked up some teeny-tiny terra-cotta pots, a little wooden pinwheel, the sign and some miniature picket fences. We made a mess, sipped on smoothies and had a blast!

She loved the idea of the heart-shaped door. Although she insists this house is for the butterflies. :)

We used q-tips, dipped in paint to make the flowers on the roof of our fairy duplex.

We used decorative glass stones we found in my craft stash for the sidewalks of our village. Fairies do not like to walk on boring, old rocks, you know. 

This was such a fun and easy project. Just perfect for an afternoon with your daughter! 

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Secret of the Wings Birthday Party

Our baby turned 6 this year, 6!!Its all going by so fast!! Being the creative type yes, the Birthday Girl is the princess who designs her own dresses. ;) She didn't want just any run of the mill party!!

Let me just preface this with saying, we don't do great, big birthday parties in our family. Don't get me wrong, we make a big, huge deal about birthdays, but we don't do ginourmus, invite-everyone-you've-ever-met-destination birthday parties. I'm not putting that down, I'm just saying its not us. :) We keep our parties smaller, 6-8 kids, only the close friends she actually plays with. That can be hard, don't get me wrong. Its hard to not invite the child she used to play with but doesn't see anymore, kids of my friends that she sees once in a while, you know how it goes. Our schools are quite overcrowded, she has 35 other kids in her class so we can't invite everyone in the class. All that aside, a smaller party with close friends only just works best for us.

This, however does not mean our parties are simple, stress-free and easy on mom! :) Also, my kids tend to be somewhat ahead of the trend when it comes to parties. They don't pick a theme that is stocked in your local party store. They often don't pick a theme you can find online. Like when our son wanted the Olympic Birthday, or the year he wanted a lightening theme (lightening???) Or the year our daughter said she wanted a garden party with flowers and a fairy with brown hair. (She was turning 3 that year.) This past fall, on the heels of the release of the newest Tinkerbell movie, she announced she wanted a "Secret of the Wings" party! I was thrilled! I could just hop on down to the Party City, pick up all the party paraphernalia and be on our way!

Imagine my surprise to find nothing at the store in connection with the new movie! No Periwinkle anywhere, just standard Tinkerbell stuff! I went home and searched online. Not. A. Thing. How is this possible?? I know my child isn't the only one who adores Tinkerbell. There are party plates, cups and napkins for every other random kid television show, but nothing for the new Tinkerbell movie! I told my daughter about our predicament and she shrugged her little shoulders and said "I guess we'll make our own." So we did!

Her vision was to turn the house into the Winter Woods (the place where Periwinkle and the other frost fairies live.) While she loves Tink, she was quite taken with the newest fairy and wanted Peri and her winter wonderland to be the star here. Everything should be snowy, frosty, with blue and silver. (Seriously, no pink!?!?!? Shocking!!!) She wanted each girl to have a pair of fairy wings that sparkle, just like Tink and Peri's in the movie, and a pair of Peri's shoes. (Which are just like Tink's except that they are blue.)

Oh, and she wanted a 6 tiered cake, one for each year. The cake should be frosted in white with pale blue, shimmery snowflakes all over it. At the top of the cake, she wanted figurines of Tink and Peri, holding a snowflake, with a candle in the shape of a 6 at their feet. No, I am not kidding, this is what comes out of her brain. Let's just tackle that cake, first, shall we?

I'm not a cake decorator. I can't make a rose or even a basic border. Here's the thing. For some reason, our kids want their cakes made by me, and you know I love that. :) I can fake it for birthdays, and I'm a big fan of Cake Boss and Cupcake Wars, but people, this is not my area of giftedness. At first, when she mentioned a 6 tiered cake, I told her that was for a wedding, not a birthday. But then when she explained it was 6 tiers for a reason; one for each year of her life. Well, I appreciate that kind of creative thinking. I brought up the idea of making a big, cupcake display with 6 tiers, but she had cupcakes last year at her Pinkalicious party and she really wanted a real cake. At the suggestion of a dear friend who is a pastry chef (but who, unfortunately moved to Australia so there was no chance of her making the cake FOR me) I went to a store in town and bought 3 cake dummies for the 3 bottom tiers! Cake dummies are pieces of pre-cut styrofoam that you can decorate to look like a real cake! Ha!!! Armed with my 3 cake dummies, a recipe for marshmallow fondant, a snowflake cookie cutter and a promise from my girl that next year she would NOT ask for a 7-tiered cake I felt like I was set!! I really only had to bake a 3 tiered cake and how hard could that be?  So. . .

She was thrilled, and that's all that matters, right? Right??? (Don't mind me, I'll just be hiding under the table. Mortified.) Yikes.

On to something. . .else.

We found some wonderful cups and plates, and worked some magic with ribbon, tulle and plastic tablecloths. I snagged a bunch of those little snowflake ornaments on the after-Christmas sales and we picked up some little blue flowers and pretended they are periwinkles. The pictures, by the way are courtesy of the birthday girl herself, she's quite the budding photographer. :)

In the end of the movie, Tinkerbell arranges for flowers (periwinkles) to fall from the sky with snowflakes, naturally this was part of the vision. So with a little fishing wire, glittery snowflakes and silk flowers, we tried to make it happen. I also grabbed all her Tinkerbell dolls and hung them with fishing wire as well. I was hoping it would look like the fairies were flying around her party in a whimsical kind of way, not like "Who hung the dolls from the ceiling?" in a creepy kind of way. I'm still undecided.

Here's the finished product, complete with balloons and streamers. How do you like the step-ladder in the corner? Its the details that count. ;)

As requested, each girl got a pair of fairy wings. That sparkle, like Tinkerbells. We made them out of wire and iridescent wrap. I used this fab tutorial from the fabulous Train To Crazy blog. I am kicking myself for not getting a close up of the wings. They were pretty easy to make and just like real fairy wings, no two are alike. ;)

Periwinkle's shoes, however took some time. My first thought was to sew little slippers for each girl. But I had to do the one thing I hate to do; admit I could not do it all. Grrrr. Of course you can purchase the dress up shoes, but yikes, that can get pricey, and didn't fall under my birthday budget of less than $100. Finally we found little ankle socks. We dyed them light blue and sewed on little pom-poms we made.

One thing I do love about our birthday parties is doing all the prep work together. The kids love it, I love it and I feel like it makes the whole thing more special because its their vision and they helped realize it. It is a LOT of work, but it is so worth it. :)

The little frost fairies snacked on snowflake and butterfly shaped sandwiches, fresh fruit and the usual kid-favoured snacks. The sipped hot chocolate with whipped cream and snowflake sprinkles, and no I didn't get pictures of any of this. :)

We played games, pin the wings on the fairy. We pulled out a poster of Tink and traced her wings onto vellum, cut out the wings and ta-da! We also played "Help the Animals into the Winter Woods. In the beginning of the movie, Fawn is doing just that, so my daughter came up with the idea of a game. We used her little beenie babie typed stuffed animals, and each girl had a turn to try and toss them into a pile of snow (tulle) which represented the Winter Woods. They chatted and laughed and played and you could see all those adorable pictures if I wasn't a paranoid mama with my silly rule of no  pictures of my kids on my blog. :) So picture in your head. . .adorable kids. . .fairy wings. . .smiles. . .

As always, the most important thing is the birthday child, and  you can imagine my absolute delight when she pronounced her party "PERFECT!!" She said it was exactly what she wanted, and who can ask for more than that?

Which comes down to my big reason for posting this party. See, I don't think I'm one of those amazing moms on Pinterest that put together these amazing parties with amazing pictures that seem to come from a magazine. I'm just a normal gal who likes to sew and get creative. :) This party is not perfect, glossy and professional  no one will think I spent hundreds on a party planner. But to the birthday girl, it was perfect. The time we spent together sticking fondant snowflakes on a leaning cake, hanging flowers and fairies from the ceiling, and making pom poms for shoes was time well spent. She knows that she is not limited to what is sold in stores and that she can make anything happen. And she thought it was perfect. That's all that matters. So I decided to post this (lumpy, wilting cake and all) to encourage that mom who thinks she "isn't crafty enough" because you are. It doesn't have to be Pinterest Perfect to be a perfect. :)

Linked up at these fab-tastic blogs!
Sew Country Chick  |  Sweet Anne  |  Etcetorize   |   CraftOManiac   |  Sew Can Do  |  Not Just a Housewife  | I Should be Mopping the Floor  |  I Gotta Try That  |  House of Hepworths  |  GingerSnap Crafts   |  Vintage Wanna Be  |  The Creative Itch  |  Mommy By Day, Crafter By Night  |  Sew Much Ado   |  Someday Crafts   |  DIY Crafty Projects   |  Sugar and Dots  |  504 Main   |  Fingerprints on the Fridge  |  Tatertots and Jello  | Southern Lovely  |  My Girlish Whims  |  Love Notes by Lauren  |  Pikapotamus  | The Train to Crazy  |  The Crafty Blogstalker

Sunday, February 3, 2013

My First Vintage Pattern!!

Was my last post really the beginning of November? Its funny how time just whooshes by when you aren't looking. :) At our house, its kind of a whirlwind from Halloween until the beginning of February. We have three birthdays in as many weeks just after Christmas and I always feel like I can't quite keep up. Perhaps if I didn't feel the need to overdo everything from Halloween to the last of the three birthdays. . .

The Holidays, the birthdays are all done (be watching for a post about the 6-year old's birthday party!!) and life is just getting back into a normal groove. Now I can go back to posting sporadically! :)

My sister asked if I would make an apron that she could give as a gift to her boss. She wanted something fun, retro and something that didn't tie around the neck. Ironically I had just purchased my very first vintage pattern and it was an apron!! I found it on Etsy, through this lovely, little shop called AtomicRegeneration. Her shop is full of fabulous vintage patterns and buttons.

I'd chosen Simplicity 1358, a darling apron with a full skirt, ruffles, big pockets. Also, the bodice does not tie around the neck, the straps go all the way down the back to the waistline and button. Fabulous! My thought was to make an apron for me out of a lovely pink damask. So I showed the pattern to my sister, who loved it, and I dove in.

Kind of.

See, I have this problem when I sew for other people on demand. I don't know why but I kind of freak out about it. And freeze up. And make silly mistakes that I have to pick out and redo. And then I get all stressed and tummy achey, it isn't a pretty sight. What made this worse is that this was my first vintage pattern!!! I mean seriously, what kind of a doorknob tries out something entirely new and decides to make it for someone else??? As a gift. For their BOSS???? Pressure anyone?

My sister wanted cheerful and retro in her fabric so she chose a classic red and white polkadot. I loved it!

The seams are all sewed wrong sides together, (which was really weird to get used to!!) and the exposed seams are covered in bias tape. I found sewing bias tape on a curve to be more difficult that you'd think. And my mitered corners are not easily achieved, but I'm getting there!

I love the back of the apron, so sweet and feminine!

Since this was a gift and a surprise, I wasn't able to measure her for the exact placement of the button holes on the straps. So I measured what would work for me, I'm a pretty average size, and then did one buttonhole at that measurement, one below and one above. I do love a big, happy bow!

I felt like it needed a hot pad to go with. I can't really say why I felt that way, maybe I wanted to practice my mitered corners. :) But I had a little leftover fabric and bias tape so I threw together a quick hot pad. It is quilted, and I wanted a little pocket, I prefer to use a hot pad that  has a place for my hand! :) I added the bias at the top of the pocket to mimic the bodice of the apron. 

There were a few tears and some cursing, but at the end, I'm pleased with the way it turned out. While I was intimidated by this pattern, I did enjoy the process and I'm excited to make another! :) This might be the beginning of a new obsession!

Sew Country Chick  |  Threading My Way  |  Sweet Anne  |  Etcetorize   |   CraftOManiac   |  Sew Can Do  |  Not Just a Housewife  | I Should be Mopping the Floor  |  I Gotta Try That  |  House of Hepworths  |  GingerSnap Crafts   |  Vintage Wanna Be  |  The Creative Itch  |  Mommy By Day, Crafter By Night  |  Sew Much Ado   |  Someday Crafts   |  DIY Crafty Projects   |  Sugar and Dots  |  504 Main   |  Fingerprints on the Fridge  |  Tatertots and Jello  | Southern Lovely  |  My Girlish Whims  |  Love Notes by Lauren  |  Pikapotamus  | The Train to Crazy  |  The Crafty Blogstalker

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Stockings of Cheer!

My poor, lonely blog has been sitting neglected for far too long. Life got in the way of my blog, which I suppose is much better than my blog getting in the way of life. :) Ironically, I've been sewing and painting and have several projects that I am so excited to share. Just not enough time to write the posts.

I'm jumping into November with a project from Hopeful Threads. I'd love you to join me in making Christmas stockings for children in the hospital at Christmas. Check out Kristy's post for all the details and join in! I've made 2 stockings and have 4 more cut and ready to sew. I had a hard time finding just what I wanted in the overall shape of the stocking and was about to draft my own pattern and then I stumbled on a lovely tutorial for curly-toed stockings from Sew4Home. It had everything I wanted so I used their pattern. Super cute and I whipped these up in an hour, including the time I spent cutting out and fishing scrap fabric out of my dog's mouth.  Here's what I've got so far. . .

I love the whimsical feel of the curled toe, and the court-jester feel of the cuff. They turned out just the way I hoped that they would and I am delighted with them.

Head on over to Hopeful Threads and get all the details on this month's project. Then check back with me in the next few days. . .I have so much to share!!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

September Project!!

This month's project from Hopeful Threads is "Remembering Service Men and Woman." I grew up a Navy BRAT, so this is very near and dear to my heart.  We are sewing e reader covers and/or pillowcases for soldiers deployed to Afghanistan. Kristy has a friend who's husband is currently in Afghanistan and so the items are being sent to his battery, with the hope in mind that so many covers and pillowcases are made that the overflow can be sent to another battery nearby. I love the idea of sending a message of love and support to our men and woman in the armed forces.

Kristy has set up a Pinterest board that is just full of tutorials. I chose to purchase one from Birdful Stitches, I liked the review that Kristy did with it. The instructions were easy to follow and I liked that there were measurements for all the popular e-readers out there. I made two covers for the Kindle Fire.

Gender neutral fabric was requested in these items and I can't tell you how much I struggle with that! :) I've been told that things I think are gender neutral are in fact, quite feminine. So hopefully my fabric choice isn't too bad. I was going for cheerful and happy. And there isn't any pink anywhere. :)

I've had this fabric hanging around in my stash for a while. My thought was to make curtains for my laundry room with it, because it feels so sunny and happy to me. But then I decided to go another way with my laundry room (a project still in progress) and so I decided to use it for this project. I love the blue and yellow together, and the informal plaid seems cheerful to me.

I used a basic blender for the contrast pieces to pick up that darker blue.

For the second cover, I used fabric I had left from the Boy's Shorts Project. To me, it is a sweet, homey type of print. And you can't go wrong with the red, white and blue, right?

These were fairly quick to make and used minimal fabric. The pattern calls for 3 fat quarters. So dig into your stash and show some love to our service men and women!! I love the monthly projects and sewing to make a difference. Thank you, Kristy!!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Seasons Change

I'm just wondering where the time went and how its been a month since my last post? :) The summer seems to have flown by, at least the time the kids had out of school. Living in the desert wasteland as we do, summer will continue for us until about Halloween. I had so many (creative) plans for the summer on my schedule and not half of them were completed or even attempted! Oh well, on to the next chapter, I have pages of ideas for the fall!

School is in session and as soon as I can stop crying after I drop her off and come home, I'll start some sewing projects. :) I kid! I stopped crying after the first week. Seriously, I was not ready for Kindergarten. I was surprised at myself because I've never been that mom that gets sad at the milestones. I didn't cry when she started walking and the "baby" phase was officially ending, I delighted in her new ability. All those little things that change them from baby to toddler, toddler to preschooler, I was excited and thrilled with those little changes. Kindergarten is different, it changes everything and selfishly it feels like it pulls her away from me a little. Which I know is healthy and part of her growing up, but I didn't expect it to be so painful. And I know that I will come to love this stage too, but this milestone has been hard. She's been great, she loves her school, she's made friends and her teacher really is fabulous. I, on the other hand have been secretly wishing that homeschooling really was the best option for her. :) I never experienced this feeling with my bonus son, oh there was that bittersweet "he's not a baby anymore" feeling when his face started to lose that "toddler" look and changed into "boy." But it was always mostly the excited "look what he can do now oh my gosh he is so amazing" feeling. Of course, since I became part of his and his Dad's family he's always been back and forth between his home with mom and his home with us so there is a bit of a difference there. In the situation, not in the love. :)  So I was completely unprepared for the dread I felt as Kindergarten approached. we're two weeks in and beginning our third, she couldn't be more thrilled about it. Weekends are a bit of a bummer to her with no school and all. :) And after several conversations and emails (oh yeah, I'm that mom) with her teacher, seeing the way she interacts with the kids on the playground and hearing all about her from my girl, I believe that this teacher is exactly who my girl needs and is the best teacher for her entry into school. I wonder if my feelings are mostly just selfish, because she is so independent and thanks to the hysterectomy last summer, we're pretty much not having more babies around here. So I'm not actually needed 24/7 anymore. Oh, she's only 5, I'm still needed 21/7 but its all changing; my role, the kids and I just don't feel ready for the change. :)  The funny thing is that I know, this next phase is going to me amazing. Everytime we step into a new phase I think "this was the best time in our lives and I will always look back on this time as my favourite" then the next phase is even better! :)

Remember the 100 Book Challenge at the beginning of the summer? Well we finished it! She did indeed read 100 books! Big thank yous to Jenn from Rook No. 17 for introducing us to the BOB books. Those were fabulous, just the right size for a new reader, "The Sad Cat" is her absolute favorite. (And he ends up happy, so its all good.) My girl was so, completely pleased with herself that she has requested we never, ever take down our chart. :)

Have you checked out the September project over at Hopeful Threads? This month we are making e-reader covers and/or pillowcases for troops deployed in Afghanistan. This one is close to my heart being raised a Navy BRAT. :) I'm working on my contribution and I hope you'll think about joining in too!

I have so many ideas for new projects, I hope you'll come back and see me again!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Recipe Review: 40 Minute Hamburger Buns

I am one of those people who collect recipes. I love trying a new recipe, I hate trying out one that turns out ick. Seriously, who wants to spend the time to make something that isn't yummy?

This recipe, from Taste of Home; 40 Minute Hamburger Buns was truly yummy and as promised very quick and easy. I will say they took me longer than 40 minutes because I did follow a commenter's recommendation to let them rise for 30 minutes rather than the 10 that the recipe calls for. It made them very light and fluffy and super yummy. Even dh,  my big bread critic loved them. :)

I also made one teensy change to the recipe. I don't use vegetable oil anymore. I sub coconut oil or plain greek yoghurt depending on what I'm making and what I have on hand. I didn't happen to have either in the kitchen!!!! So I used butter. I know, I know calories much? But better than oil, I think and hello, butter. Super yum!! Also, I didn't knead them by hand for 5-7 minutes. Because I am just not for that. I have a stand mixer and a dough hook for a reason and I'm not afraid to use them. :)

I brushed the tops with an egg wash and sprinkled the sesame seeds just to be fancy. ;) These were so easy to make that I found myself saying "I will never buy hamburger buns again!!" :) I've also made them without the brush and seeds and they turned out super yummy. The buns are quite large, keep that in mind when you form your patties. :)

My verdict? Super yummy and easy to make! A keeper!