Happy Mail

I’ve been falling behind in Kate’s scrapbook for a while, but I am determined to catch up.  I finally finished Year 2 Volume 1 (which was the 6 months ending in December) and it feels great to move on to her current book.  I was scrapbooking last night and I’m already forgetting the details that I wanted to include with the journaling, so I’m determined to catch back up so that I’m working on more current layouts.  I’m also toying with the idea of prewritting the journaling and including it with the pictures until I’m ready to scrap the layout.  Maybe I’ll do a combo of both.

I did just order a ton of pictures.  Like 251.  And that’s only the pictures from February and March.  Hmm…  I might need to cut back on the number of layouts I’m scrapping in the future.  🙂  This did include the pictures from our cruise in February though.  I’m trying to decide if I should include the pictures in with Kate’s scrapbook or just make a mini-book…

I used to order from Shutterfly, but the pictures always came out a bit dark.  Don’t get me wrong, their photobooks are amazing, but for regular prints I was less than thrilled.  So I switched over to Picture Preview on the recommendation of a friend.  Wow.  I love them.  Super fast, awesome prints.  Their upload interface leaves a bit to be desired, but the print quality is great.  And super fast.

Oh my, I have got my work cut out for me.  I did get four layouts done last night though, and I’m going to a crop this Saturday.  🙂

Fun with Rice!

I have been wanting to dye some rainbow rice ever since I saw this come across my google reader.  I decided to go ahead and make a plain rice sensory tub first though.  That way when I dye the rice later it will be all new and shiny.  More bang for my buck.  Yee haw.

Eventually I plan to put all of the rice in a rubbermaid box about the size of a shoe box.  Of course first I need to find said box in the pit that is my half of the office.  Hmm…  that might take a while.  I was tired of waiting though, so I decided just to use a pot.  It worked great.  I’ve been collecting some random treasures for a while with this sensory tub in mind.  The idea was that Kate could dig around in the rice and find them.

This was fun for a while, but then Kate noticed that I had put the pot on a cookie sheet to try and minimize rice spillage.  Kate took this as an invitation to transfer the rice to the cookie sheet.  Not quite what I had in mind little one.  Right about this time, I vaguely remembered some Montessori lesson about moving rice with spoons.  Of course, maybe I was making it up, who knows.  At any rate, I went with it and dug out some bowls and spoons.  Raptor approved!

She particularly liked scooping the rice up with the spoon and putting in the bowl.  Once the bowl was full she poured it back in the pot.  This seemed to be a natural extension of her obsession with pouring water back and forth.

After a while she decided to put the tiny animals in the bowl and give them a rice blanket because they needed to go to bed.  Adorable.  It was slightly less adorable when she decided that she simply had to pour the whole pot of rice out on the cookie sheet.  What can I say, at least she didn’t pour it on the floor.  Still, I think that this might be an outside activity from now on.  🙂


Sick Raptor

I’m afraid that the Raptor is down for the count.  She’s been sporting a fever since Saturday afternoon but we have an appointment this afternoon to figure out what’s going on.  Consequently, I have no blog post ready for today, but I can give ya a cute picture from Friday.


A Comedy of Errors

Oh my.  For some reason, unbeknownst to me, I decided that it would be a good idea to dye Easter eggs.  With Kate and the 2 girls I sometimes babysit.  Welcome to crazy town.  🙂

First of all, if you’re planning to dye eggs, I recommend buying the cheap white eggs, not organic brown eggs.  Mistake number one.  I decided to forge ahead anyway.  Nothing could make me return to the train wreck that is HEB until I absolutely had to.  Like say, we run out of diet coke.  Or wine.

I found this great idea on Pinterest (which I am totally addicted to by the way) to put the dye in a muffin tin.  We’ll go ahead and call that mistake number two.

I’m getting ahead of myself though.  First I cut each of the dye tabs in half so that I could split the dye between 2 sets of muffin tins for the 2 big girls.  I was feeling so optimistic a this point.  ::sigh::

I decided to put stickers to spell out the girls’ names on the eggs.  The plan was to remove the stickers after the eggs sat in the dye bath.  As you can see, Kate is more than ready to get this show on the road.

Michael decided to try a crayon resist.  Probably would have been a good idea not to use washable crayons.  It did work as a resist, but all of the color was leached out.  We’ll call that mistake number 3.

Turns out that the crayon color disappearing was just the beginning.  I was trying to dry the egg and the dye started rubbing off.  OK, at this point it was just getting comical.  What are we up to at the point, 4, 5?

Hmm…  I’m just going to go with “shabby chic”.  🙂  Kate just could not help herself, she had to bang the eggs on the table.  It was pretty funny.

Kate’s name egg turned out the best because it was in the darkest dye bath, but I think they all turned out pretty cute.  Bottom line: we had a lot of fun, but we’re not going to be winning any egg decorating contests.  🙂

More from Project Life

I am so loving Project Life!  It has evolved a bit in the 2 weeks I’ve been working on it.  I’m still doing a picture a day, but I’ve decided to take all of the pictures with the hipstomatic app on my iPhone.  This way I don’t have a lot of pressure to carry the hubby’s DSLR around everywhere trying to make sure that I get a perfect picture every day.  Of course, in reality the camera does go most places with me, but the phones go everywhere.  It makes it much easier to snap a quick photo of everyday stuff.  I also decided that Kate does not need another scrapbook!  She has a several *very* full scrapbooks of her own, plus a blog.  Project Life is becoming more about *my* story.  Obviously Kate still makes regular appearances.  🙂

The hipstomatic prints are 4X4, but since we print them out at home they come out 4X6.  The first step is to trim them down to 4X4.  Since they are 4X4 and the kit is designed for 4×6 I back them with patterned paper.  This also gives me the opportunity to squeeze in some more pictures.

Here I have 3 pictures in the space for 2.  I did have to cut one in half but, as we’ve discussed before, that doesn’t bother me.

Here’s another one where I cut a picture in half.  It was at about this point that Michael suggested I change the name to Project Lush.  What can I say, I enjoy an adult beverage now and then.  🙂

Another option to include more photos is to put them in the extra journaling pockets.  Each week has 8 spots for journaling cards but seeing as how there are only 7 days in the week you have an extra one.  The kit includes little accent cards to put in them, but I decided to put a picture in this one instead.

Since we’re Michael’s printing them out at home, I try not to harass him too much about it.  What I do instead is make sure I’ve taken the picture for the day and then I put a sticky note where it will go once it’s printed.

I try to go ahead and get the journaling done as I go too.  If I was doing 4X6 prints, I could then just slip them in whenever I finally had them printed.  I spend a bit more time mounting them on patterned paper since I’m using 4X4 prints, but it still doesn’t take long.  Loving this whole concept!

Bow Conversion

I am addicted to bows.  Particularly bows from Gymboree.  I love them in all their corkscrew glory.  The only problem is that they have barrettes and Kate doesn’t have quite enough hair for them.  No worries.  I just convert them over to alligator clips.

First I use this random tool that Michael found for me out in the garage.

I use it to cut away the plastic barrette part.  You have to be careful while you’re cutting away the pastic that you don’t cut through the ribbon or any of the thread connecting the ribbons.  You have to kind of scootch the ribbon to the side, cut away one side and then scootch it back over to cut out the other side.

Then you have to work the piece of plastic around until you can get it out.  Finally you are left with only the ribbons which should have a small piece of ribbon holding them together.

Thread a piece of ribbon through the loop and then slide your alligator clip through it.

Next you just put some glue on the ribbon and fold it over.  I use felt glue, but I’m sure you could use pretty much anything.  The ribbon will glue to itself through the holes in the alligator clip.

Then you do the other side.

I think the ribbon gives the bow a nice finished look, plus it seems to help grip Kate’s fine baby hair.  And here’s the finished bow!

Too bad I ran out of alligator clips before I could do the second bow.  Raptor was not pleased when she only got to wear one bow.  She kept demanding “Two!  Two!”  Guess we’ll be making a trip over to Sally’s in the near future to buy some more.  🙂



Making Mud

The Raptor has been absolutely fascinated with water lately.  I swear she spent an hour earlier this week pouring water from one cup to another in her water table.  So today, Michael took her out to water the trees.

Hmm…  I use the phrase “water the trees” loosely.  Mainly she wanted to make mud.  Oh well.  This tree isn’t looking so good anyway.  I think I have a green gangrene thumb.  After a very cursory watering, Kate moved on to the mud making portion of the evening.

And then on to the puddle splashing.  She had a blast!

Thumbprint Hyacinth

I stumbled across this idea for a thumbprint hyacinth on Pinterest the other day and decided to give it a whirl.  It seemed easy enough.  Famous last words…  Nothing about precision finger painting is easy with a toddler.

First I drew the stem and leaves on with a green marker.  I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that you should go ahead and take the trouble to find one of your nice markers to do this.  Using whatever partially dried up old thing you find in your child’s art drawer is probably not going to cut it.  Oh well.

Then you dip your child’s thumb in purple paint and stamp it up and down the stem.  Huh.  Yeah, that probably works a lot better with an older kid.  It probably also works a lot better if you’re not trying to take pictures at the same time.  You know, I’m not even going to bore you with our final product.  Check out the example if you want to see how it should look.  Her’s looks awesome.  🙂  Incidentally, Michael wanted to know why I didn’t use blue paint for the bluebonnet.  Hmm…  Maybe we’ll try again next year, but make them bluebonnets instead of hyacinths.

Luckily, Kate and I are not ones to let something as trivial as a failed thumbprint craft get us down.  Especially not when we already have paint out!

Kate had a great time making handprints.  In fact, she demanded “Kate’s hand!  Kate’s hand!” until I finally acquiesced and covered her hand in paint so she could stamp it.  I really need to get some paint brushes to facilitate this.  Mommy is not a fan of getting her own hands covered in paint.

Tutu Pictures in the Bluebonnets

Here they are, the tutu pictures in the bluebonnets!

The patterned tule made it much more skirt like than some of her previous tutus, so I left her shorts on underneath to give it some fullness.  That, and her daddy thought that it would be more comfy on her tush if she sat down in the bluebonnets.

She was way too busy running around in the giant field to even think about sitting down!  I have to say it was a but easier to get pictures last year before she was mobile.  🙂

And here’s another picture of my new skirt.  I plan on making many more of these this summer. 🙂


New skirt is done!

And I am so proud of myself!  It was a bit more of a challenge than I was anticipating, but I love the finished project and plan to make a few more so I have a summer wardrobe.  I started out with a pattern of course.  What I was not expecting was that the sizing on the pattern was a bunch of lies!  Lies I tell you!  Sadly, I am not a small person, but I swallowed my pride and dutifully bought a pattern in the size that I wear.  Ok, ok,  it was one size smaller, so sue me.  They didn’t have it in tub-o-lard size.  When I got home, I decided to check my measurements against the pattern measurements.  Imagine my surprise when my tush was 10 inches larger than the pattern.  Seriously.  I don’t even know how that is possible.  Never one to be deterred by such frivolities as a lack of a workable pattern, I pressed on.

I did a bit of math and redrew the pattern.  At this point, it wouldn’t lay on the fabric like I wanted (stripes should go up and down *not* side to side) so I redrew it again to make the a-line a bit steeper.  Then I remembered that my waist is smaller than dress designers think it should be given the size of my tush and I decided that since I was making this pattern I might as well make it fit me.  A bit more redrawing later and I had a pattern that I thought would work.  At this point, it seemed wise to make the skirt out of some cheap dollar-a-yard fabric we bought years and years ago first to see how it fit before cutting up my pretty fabric.

I sewed up the sides and tried it on.  Um, yeah, it was enormous.  Maybe they were on to something with this whole sizing thing.  I had Michael pin it and then had a moment of panic over how I was going to get it off.  In the end, it went over my head without disturbing the pins.  I cut off the excess, sewed it up and tried it back on.  After Round 2 of pinning, cutting and sewing, I had a template that fit pretty well!  It’s very loose so that it can fit over my head.  This had the added benefit of making it super comfy.  Plus, no zipper or elastic required!  🙂

I turned it inside out and laid it out on top of my nice fabric.  Then I just cut along the template.  This only really worked because in the initial pattern the front and back were exactly the same.

I sewed up the two sides and tried it on.  Lose, but comfy.  My kind of skirt.  🙂  Next up was the hem and I dithered over this for a while because I wasn’t really sure how to go about doing it.  I’ve seen my Mimi hem things before though, so I decided to just press ahead.  She continually measures the hem as she is ironing it.  This seemed like a pretty good idea to me, but I couldn’t find a ruler.  Necessity is the mother of invention.  I marked off a line on a scrap of chipboard and used it as a gauge.

I turned the hem under twice as instructed, pinned it and then stitched it.  Then I did the exact same thing for the waistband.

Et viola!  I have a skirt.  The only thing left was to get some awesome shoes for it.  When my mom asked me what I wanted for my birthday, I told her that I wanted wildly impractical shoes to go with this skirt.  I love them.  I may not be able to walk tomorrow, but I don’t care.  🙂