Monday, December 28, 2009

Contest Opportunity - BlissDom 2010

Wow, lots of blog posts this week huh? I guess that's what happens when we are both home from work and school for longer than a weekend. Lots of the FUN stuff is done and not put off for another day just to be pushed further and further down the list....

Anyways, today I'm blogging about a very cool opportunity. Since starting my new adventure with Steaz as their social media coordinator, I've learned about many new opportunities in the social networking world. It's been and continues to be quite a learning experience and a fun one at that!

One opportunity that came across my desk was the BlissDom 2010 Conference in Nashville TN February 4-6. A little excerpt from their site to explain what BlissDom is:

"Blissdom is the premiere conference for women who find and express their bliss by publishing online. Blissdom ‘10, our third conference, is a welcoming oasis in the ever-changing blogging world. Speakers and panels featuring the best blogging, public relations and social media pros will be gathering to mentor new and old friends alike."

As it turns out, my client, Steaz, is sending me! They are also willing to send YOU too!

Blissdom Conference ~ Nashville ~ February 4-6 2010

We have launched a contest to send one lucky blogger to BlissDom, if you are interested in entering for your chance to win you will need to blog about what you value as a blogger, after you've blogged, make sure to complete the entry form which you can find by following this link to our notes on our Facebook Fan Page, complete contest details are there too. The contest ends January 7th and we will announce the winner on the 8th. Once you have entered, let me know via the Steaz Facebook Fan Page or by sending us a Tweet! Make sure you include a link to your blog post!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

New Space

One of our err Chris's big projects to accomplish over Christmas break was to rearrange the 3rd floor office space. It's been over three years since we've last organized it, probably closer to four actually. Since that last organization, a LOT has changed with our companies and our family. Read: our needs have changed. He spent two days cleaning and moving and reorganizing this space.

It was quite cramped with too much furniture and our desks were facing each other in the middle of the room. There wasn't much room to spread out and work or play. It was very unfriendly to the kids too with lots of accessible cords and plugs.

This floor is quite functional, it's where our photo editing happens and is also used for equipment storage. I also have my craft area up there.

To help us gain more usable space, we moved things to the outer walls and ditched a huge couch. We now have the creative side and the storage side. This leaves the majority of the room open. There is enough room to have two little boys run in two separate circles at the same time and not have them collide. I've seen it with my own two eyes! Another permanent fixture is the kids' easel with crayons. Also, a small square ikea end table which doubles as a perfect kid-sized table.

Tonight we decided to move 'after dinner family time' to the 3rd floor. Each kid brought up a few toys. They played, we all played, Chris had some photos processing while he built a tent, the kids played together, he blogged, I chatted with a friend, I played. And just like that, it was kiddo bedtime! It was beautiful.

We are happy to have a new space to play and live in.

Here's a view of my new ginormous working/crafting area. In this photo, I am sewing the capes I last blogged about.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Super Heros





Hello and Merry Christmas Everyone! The semester is complete! I've passed my classes and I am satisfied with the outcome! I've baked all that I can manage to bake this year, including a new cookie called Orange Slice Cookies that include little cut up pieces of orange slice candies. They are different, tasty, but quite sweet... even for a cookie. I also made my usual Reese' Peanut butter cup mini cups, Peanut Butter Cranberry Cereal Bars and two loaves of Orange Cranberry Bread that were specifically for Max's pre-school teachers. I also bought the ingredients for my Macaroon recipe with the mini chocolate chips... but I have run out of baking motivation.... I'll be baking off some of these in the near future though because upon announcing to Chris that we would not be having any for Christmas, I got quite the showing of the pouty bottom lip... and something was muttered about them being HIS favorite cookies... blah blah blah.... Guess I'll need to rectify that in a few weeks.

If I can manage to get to bed soon... (I had plans to hit the sack 2 hours ago in hopes of not seeing the clocks change to the next day AGAIN...) we will have two nights until our visit from the jolly old elf himself. I'm feeling pretty relaxed about that after axing a few things from the MUST DO list (sorry Max, no hand knit stocking this year :( But you and your brother will both have them for next year.) All that is left on my to do list is wrap gifts and I also have an early morning trip planned to Market District for some yummy anti pasta makings for Christmas Eve. Chris and I will share wrapping duties Wednesday night together with some wine. There isn't anything to assemble so it should be pretty easy.

Today, I finally found the time to sew up some adorable gifts for my little guys... I'm ashamed to admit, I've never sewn anything for them *gasp* I really do feel terrible about this... Needless to say, come Friday morning they will be the proud new owners of two ADORABLE little super hero capes! I'm very happy with how they turned out. I did a google search for cape sewing pattern and this was one of the first few links to pop up: http://pukingpastilles.com/?p=57

After looking through her post and directions I quickly realized that her pattern was basically just an enlarged baby bib. Using her measurements I drew my own cape patterns out and went to work. I cut the pieces out during nap. Drew out the letters and cut those, and began attaching the letters to the circles and the circles to the outer cape layer. I got one cape sewn together and ready to be top stitched before it was time to put all projects on hold until after bedtime again. After the boys went to bed, I think I spent another hour finishing the two capes. I want to say the total time spent on TWO capes was 3 hours. It was VERY easy and I'm more than pleased with how they came out.


Again, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy New Year! (oh and happy birthday to me lol).

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Experimenting with Color: Kool-Aid Edition


A few months ago, I was in my local St. Vincent DePaul. While there, I checked the craft section for some sewing notions but instead of finding zippers and buttons I scored a HUGE lot of undyed 100% wool, each skein was $.79 and there were seven skeins ! HUGE yarn score!  I knew right away that I would attempt to hand dye some wool and Kool-Aid would be my dye of choice.

I next had to figure out what I was going to do with this yarn, I knew I would dye it but what knitting pattern would I use?  I finally decided to knit Christmas stockings for my family. I found this pattern (http://home.howstuffworks.com/free-knitting-patterns-for-beginners11.htm#). Here's the Ravelry.com link too.

Next I needed to start thinking about color since the yarn was undyed. I did a quick google search for "how to dye yarn" and this was the first link I came to (http://www.knitty.com/ISSUEfall02/FEATdyedwool.html). I'm a big fan of bright colors and I'm not going for a traditional stocking look. I want something a bit different. So I decided to use regular everyday colors instead of the usual green and red.

Based on the chart provided in the Knitty.com directions, I chose a few colors (flavors) and headed to the store in search of Kool-Aid. I came away with packets to make orange, pink, teal and red.

Tuesday night was then deemed Kool-Aid party night. A few of my knitting friends came over to see the process and to keep me company.

Before the dying started, the yarn needed to be soaked, I gave it a bath in a big bowl with a few drops of laundry detergent and let it sit for a good twenty to thirty minutes. This process rinsed the fibers and got rid of a LOT of dirt and oils.


I then rinsed the yarn with room temperature tap water and I gently squeezed the excess water from the yarn. It was now time to dye! I started with orange since Max requested that his stocking be his favorite color. Preparing the dye is quite easy, basically 1 packet of Kool-Aid to each ounce of wool. My skeins were three oz skeins. I emptied the contents of three packets into a Pyrex dish, added some water to dissolve the Kool-Aid, placed my yarn into the dish and added a bit more water to cover the yarn. Following the directions, I microwaved my yarn in the dye for two minutes, let the yarn rest, swished it around a bit and cooked it for 2 more minutes and let it cool. I let all the yarn hang out in their Pyrex dishes until the end. As you can see in the photos below, the dye is QUITE bright prior to submerging the yarn. The dye is then absorbed by the fibers leaving a semi-clear water behind.

The dye is then absorbed by the fibers leaving a semi-clear water behind.

I then rinsed and gently squeezed the excess water out again and hung them to dry in the basement.


I'm happy with how each of the colors turned out. The red is QUITE bright! It took two extra cooking sessions to secure the dye in the yarn and the water never quite cleared like the others. Overall, it was a really fun project although slightly messy... I've come away with some awesome colors of yarn and two bright red hands.

More photos of the process can be found here (http://www.flickr.com/photos/cararolinson/).

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

New Things

Life has really stepped in the way of blogging lately! I'm sorry for the the lack of quality updates in over a month and beyond. I'm going to do my best to NOT let this happen again. I am going to blame a few things, one, the fall weather, during my free time with the kids, we've been outside a LOT and two, I haven't created much. I've been knitting away at a pair of socks, I've got one down and just started the 2nd a few days ago. sock number one fits like a perfectly snug dream! I think i've found my "go to" pattern for socks (rav link - it's also in my projects list) that fit my weird little feet. I can't wait to wear them as a team! LOL I have created some halloween costumes but I have no photos of those yet, so we'll save that as a topic for another post in the next few days.

So, since there is little crafting and really NO interesting cooking going on in this house, I am going to share some news about ME!

I realize that it's October and the end of it at that! I also realize that a good bit of my readers already know this but it's part of the big picture so that's where I'm starting. At the end of August I went back to school. I'm enrolled in three classes, two evening and one online. I hope to finish by Spring 2011. I'm majoring in Digital Media Journalism at Point Park University. So far, I love the classes and the time out of the house alone is really rejuvinating. It's amazing how much one misses the outside "grown-up" world when they are staying home with toddlers. The schedule change was a welcomed one by everyone in the family, Chris gets more time with the boys, the boys get a break from me and I get to talk to adults about things that don't include topics like sippy cups, snacks and dinosaurs... Win.Win.Win.

A few weeks ago during a playdate my friend asked me what my plans were after I complete my degree. Was I planning to work outside of the house? Was I planning something else? My answer at the time was, that I have loose plans to use my new digital media skills to create some sort of online presence in the craft world, writing a book is part of that loose plan as well. Since then, my direction has taken a slight turn. That is still something that I would like to do eventually. But I am now seeing a brighter and straighter path. Since that playdate I have found myself with a new job and this job brings lots of promise for others like it. Before I found this job, I had loose ideas about what I wanted to do. Those ideas struggled with me not wanting to be out of the house much if at all for work and they also struggled with my desire to be my own boss. Frankly, me getting a job out of the house would mean, that Chris and the kids would get to have all the fun in the summers while I sat in an office. NOT appealing to any of us. (i realize the double standard here, yes chris works the other 8 months out of the year in an office but those 8 months are the cold/wet/snowy/dark so it all sorta works out right?)

Then, all of a sudden, a new opportunity fell out of the sky, landed breifly on a local message board that I frequent, Pittsburghmom.com, and safely landed into my lap. The forum manager/director, and friend, later told me that she often receives emails from local companies looking to fill jobs with her forum readers and participants. Some are good some are not. This one, was exceptional. Basically this company was looking for a local stay at home mom to manage some social media directives a few hours a week for a client of theirs. Said, client, Steaz.com (I want to add, I've tried MOST of their products in the past week, I haven't met one that I didn't enjoy! They are organic, vegan, support fair trade and the company is VERY VERY eco friendly. It's awesome to be able to do work for a company that I can stand behind.) Anyways, I figured, I know how to use facebook and twitter AND I manage our pages for our own companies so I surely understand how this would fit into an advertising package. I also have public relations experience from my past life so, I jumped, I didn't leave my chair until I had an email prepared to send out inquiering about this new endevor. I heard back in a few hours via email, and we had quickly set up a time to talk on the phone the following day. That phone call went VERY well! Last week, I met with them locally and Wednesday, I am flying out to Philly with to meet the company founders and the rest of the team at their company headquarters. Just like that, I'm a social media consultant! and frankly, it all happened so fast, that it makes me giggle when I think about it.

In short, I'll be managing the facebook page and group for Steaz and using Twitter as well. We also have plans to do outreach to mombloggers for giveaways and some other fun things too! We'll be doing giveaways, and coupons and online events. (I'm sure that there will be a LITTLE bit of cross-over here with some product mentions, but don't worry, my main topics will not be about products, and they will continue to be about knitting, sewing and my family.)

If you're interested in following me as Steaz on Twitter, we're @steaz. They are currently figuring out their facebook presence, they have both a page and a group. After our meeting tomorrow, I should have a better idea about which one we'll be using regularly.

Also, Chris and I have added some new services to our offerings, you can read about those here.

Very Exciting Times are ahead!

Monday, September 14, 2009

And the winner is....

Number provided by:

"True Random Number Generator
1 14 5 Powered by RANDOM.ORG"

The winner is.....
Anonymous "Anonymous said...

So cute!! You friend is very crafty!! Love it.

e h po pe@ live .com

September 10, 2009 8:32 AM"

Congratulations to you! I've sent an email to you and you'll have 48 hours to reply, if you fail to do so in that time frame I will contact the next person.

Again, a BIG thank you goes out to Jo from Two By Two Crafty Creations!

Come back soon, I'm planning a few more giveaways in the next few weeks! Stay tuned!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Giveaway!

******* THIS CONTEST HAS BEEN CLOSED, A WINNER WILL BE ANNOUNCED ON MONDAY! THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO ENTERED! **********

I've been tossing this idea around for a while... I have a few friends who make fun crafty items and I want to highlight their work here. The best way to do that is to have a giveaway!

The first in this series is my friend Jo. She makes adorable toddler adornments with ribbons and buttons! Lots of fun colors, lots of fun options! Her Etsy.com shop, Two By Two Crafty Creations, can be found here so make sure you check that out too! Very fun stuff!

This is the item that we're giving away!

It comes on a slip on clip but it can be also be placed on a headband, which will be included.

To enter this giveaway, you need to leave a comment, please include your email in your comment. You don't have to say anything special in your comment, just leave one to enter. You can enter TWICE if you also repost this, either on your own blog or on facebook or twitter, wherever! Just leave a 2nd comment telling me you did so and provide a link if you can. The contest will close at MIDNIGHT this FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 11, 2009. I will announce the WINNER Monday morning! Good LUCK!

ETA - if you've left a comment without an email please contact me with your email address!

SMALL PRINT: I'll be using this site to choose the winner, if I contact you as the winner, you'll have 48 hours to reply. If you fail to do so I'll move onto the next person on the list.

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Last 35 days in Photos

Yes, I've been MIA... I'm chalking it up to having too much fun thus no time to blog... or at least not much time to organize my thoughts into post format.... I apologize! Frankly, with all the fun we've been having, there is OF COURSE an abundant amount of photos to go along with it. 111 (after edits) to be exact... So the thought of organizing our summer fun into posts was a bit daunting since i had to deal with flickr and my photos first...

So here we are, the last 35 days in photos. (Some of the photo credits go to Chris, it should be fairly obvious which ones... I'm in them! lol)

July 21st - Chris and I each took a kid and had some one on one time with them. Chris took Max on a short road trip to the Breezewood Exit on the PA Turnpike so that they could explore an abandoned portion of the turnpike there. It's been closed off to motor vehicles for quite a long time but bicycles are welcomed! Photos can be found here. That day, I took Andy to the zoo! It was so much fun to spend time with him and just him. He never gets to have 100% of me! It was a treat for both of us.


August 1st - Chris took Max fishing with a friend of ours, however Max had developed a nasty rash the day before... (not our finest parenting moment) so I'm not certain that he really enjoyed himself, he looks absolutely miserable in the photos....


That night Max's rash got quite nasty so we decided to take a trip to the ER. He enjoyed it! LOL

Max spent some time making funny faces while we waited.

We spent the next few days relaxing and staying out of the sun so that Max's spots would could heal. We did play outside a bit in the evenings since it was the cooler part of the day, that included some chalk drawings in front of the house.

August 4th - ANOTHER trip to the zoo.... this time it was member appreciation night so the four of us got to go! We ran into Annie and her family in the parking lot and again in the aquarium so we stopped for a family photo. And I took this AWESOME photo of the underneath of a starfish.


August 7th - We finally filled the new sand box, did a little yard work and cooled off in the kiddie pool!



August 12th - it had been raining for a few days so after dinner and before bedtime one evening we took the kids for a walk down to the train tracks in town where we spent 45 minutes for the next train to come... here we are practicing to cover our ears :)



August 14th - We took a trip out to Idlewild with my parents. We walked through storybook forest, played in the ball pit (two times in a row), took a train ride, road the big ferris wheel and various other vehicles for the toddlers, some of us napped, some of us cried, and some of us swam. All other photos from this day can be viewed here.


August 15th - I sewed an adorable little pillowcase dress for an adorable little 1 year old. (separate blog post about that in the near future).

August 16th - We attended a 1st birthday party for the above mentioned adorable little Charlotte! Five Stars to her parents for having the most entertaining and fun toddler party EVER! There were about 6 toddlers in attendance and it happened to be one of the HOTEST days of the summer. They had a LARGE tent and tables for the adults to sit under and for the kids, there was a sprinkler, a blow up pool and a slip and slide. We arrived, put the kids swim suits on and let them loose. It was a blast to watch them all have so much fun! Even the folks that were there without children mentioned how fun it was to watch the kids have so much fun! (the entire set can be found here)



August 16 - 19 - We had Chris's Aunt Debbie and Uncle Larry visiting the area from Denver. We did some fun things and had time to visit. We went on a Just Ducky Tour as a big group followed by lunch in Station Square. Tuesday everyone came to our house for dinner and dessert and Wednesday we all went to OH for dinner again. Their visit was a blast! Photos are here.

August 20th - Max had preschool orientation. Chris and I both took him and he had a blast playing with some of the toys in the classroom. We recieved a list of items that he'll need before school and instruction on what he'll be learning and doing while he's there. We're all really excited about this! Here he is in his classroom :)


Later that morning we went to the zoo again with a friend of mine. it was HOT and the kids were pretty tired from their busy week prior... so we cut it a bit short but still had fun. We FINALLY got to see the polar bears swimming! HOW FUN! i didn't manage any photos of this but it was really amazing!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Modified Zucchini Lasagna

A few weeks ago Chris and I decided that we were going to try to cut our meat consumption down a bit and at the same time decrease our carbs again and increase grains and vegetables. So, on a quest to find some new recipes that fit this new goal, I put a request out on a local message board that I frequent for some veggie heavy recipes. This was one suggestion and luckily I had just picked up some large zucchinis from the local farmers market and I had all the required ingredients on hand too, so I gave it a shot. (including the cottage cheese in place of the Italian standard ricotta - I know..... I later received a phone call threatening excommunication from the family because of this... more on this later.) I also had decided since we were going for a non-meat meal, that I would omit the ground beef.

After looking at a few similar recipes using zucchini in a lasagna-like casserole, I decided to start prepping my meal but along the way a FEW wires were crossed. The outcome was fantastic though and that's why I'm sharing my modifications. AND, It's your lucky day because I'll be doing it "P-Dub" style!

Cara's Modified Zucchini Lasagna

First and foremost, the cast of characters:

Garlic from our garden(three cloves chopped), one medium yellow onion(chopped), 2-3 ripe tomatoes (rough chop), olive oil, 2 - 3 large zucchini (sliced into 1/4 disks, 2 - 6oz cans of tomato paste, garlic powder (a few dashes), dried Thyme (1/2 teaspoon), dried oregano (1 teaspoon), dried basil(1 teaspoon) *** (fresh would be a nice complement to the dish too). OOH and what's that in the back there, yes, those are oven ready lasagna noodles (you'll need 6)! Something the original recipe lacked. See, this is where my wires got crossed and I somehow thought that there were supposed to be noodles in this recipe, I mean it was lasagna right? And, what's lasagna without noodles..... what I failed to notice was that the ZUCCHINI was to be sliced into large, wide, noodle-like planks and should have been used in place of noodles... OOPS!)

*** Another modification, I doubled the herb measurements from what the original recipe called for because in a few of the comments under the recipe others stated that it was a bit light on the seasonings... doubling seemed reasonable. I have no complaints about the amounts I used.

Moving along.....

I chopped my zucchini and sauteed that with a little bit of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Saute until mostly cooked through.


Once the zucchini has cooked down a bit, toss in the onions, garlic and herbs/seasonings.


Allow the onions to become a little translucent and then toss in the tomatoes and tomato paste, bring to a boil and let simmer uncovered for 10 minutes. It will look like this when it's done. YUM!


While the above is simmering, you'll need to pull these friends out of the fridge:

You'll need 1 1/2 cups Cottage Cheese, 2 cups shredded mozzarella and 2 eggs which are conveniently missing from the photo... (see?! I told you it was true P-Dub style...)

In a small bowl beat eggs, add cottage cheese and 1/2 the mozzarella.

NOTE: About the Cottage Cheese... The original recipe called for this ingredient in place of ricotta. I had recently read a few other recipes that discussed substituting cottage cheese for ricotta too so I was curious... I also happened to have that on hand and didn't have ricotta... so in an effort to NOT have to run to the store for ONE item, I gave it a shot. I'll admit, it felt wrong during prep, it sorta looked the part but it just wasn't quite right looking either... I pushed through, assembled the lasagna, baked it, ate it and LIKED it this way too. *gasp* My first taste, I missed the creamy texture of ricotta. My second taste, I looked beyond it and savored the yummy that was in my mouth and put the lack of ricotta out of mind... Will I do it again? Mmm, Maybe... if i don't have ricotta on hand. However, if I've planned correctly, I hope to try this with ricotta the next time. I would think it would only add to the flavor. My mom can now rest easy knowing that I'm not a cottage cheese convert I'm sure....

Ok, moving onto assembly.


Spray a 9x11 baking dish with cooking spray, spread a little less than 1/2 of the zucchini mixture into the bottom. Next, layer 1/2 of the egg/cheese mixture, then three lasagna noodles. Spoon most but not all of the zucchini mixture (you'll want to leave a little bit for the top), then the rest of the egg/cheese mixture, three more noodles, the rest of the zucchini mixture and top with mozzarella. Cover, bake for 30 minutes at 375 degrees, uncover and bake for another 10 minutes until cheese is lightly golden. Let stand for a few minutes before serving.

Finally, enjoy with your family!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

What I've Been Working On

I've been sewing!

I had a request from a family member for a large bag to use for her frequent trips to the beach. She lives in Florida and often has a need for a beach bag. I did a LOT of fabric searching, I tried to share options with her while shopping but nothing really truly inspired me.... I wanted it to be a thick canvas type fabric with a lot of body and I was looking for a bold print. I finally found this and used a yellow duck cloth that matches the yellow flowers for the inside lining. I used the pattern for the Everything Tote from the book Weekend Sewing by Heather Ross.


I loved creating this bag, the size is great, and the structure is fantastic too. The pocket has two compartments, one is perfect for a cell phone, the other is larger for a few small incidentals.


The main compartments is HUGE.... i put two large beach towels in this one to photograph it and still had a TON of room.

I loved this bag so much that i had planned on making another exactly like it for me. But, the fabric was sold out by the time i got back for more. I DID purchase another print for me and hope to sew another one soon. I did make a small modification. The bag is intended to be sewn in a lighter fabric, one with a bit more give. The gathers are supposed to be created in the same way ruffles are created but the fabric was way too stiff for this. I decided to do two small pleats instead on each side instead and I think I prefer this look over the ruffle/gathers.

In addition to the bag, I also made two skirts last week. I used two different patterns.

1st - Angry Chicken's 5 minute skirt, pattern found here.
2nd - Easy Breezy Skirt, found in the book Sewing Green by Betz White.

This is the "5 minute" skirt, it took way longer than 5 minutes... in fact I had to put it down for a day because i was so annoyed with it. Once I learned where my errors were, it all worked out and I will be tweaking this pattern for more skirts. Problem One, the waist was HUGE... I had to decrease it by about 8 inches... (I'm not sure that's really a problem really LOL). Problem two, was the trapezoid shape that resulted in pointy sides that hung down further than the front and back hem... remedied by adding a curve to the hem in the front and back... it creates an optical illusion... Both issues taught me a lot about skirt construction. Thus, I'm not in the least bit upset because I learned something AND the skirt is wearable in the end. Another thing I learned is that finding FOE (fold over elastic) is not something that you can do at Joann's... i improvised and used a 3/4 in thick piece of black elastic, it "worked" but is not ideal. I plan on purchasing some online before i make my next skirt with this pattern.


This is skirt number two and is commonly known as "the pillowcase" skirt. However there is NO WAY my ass would fit into a pillowcase... so I followed the directions in her book for using other fabric. In short, this skirt is a long straight tube and the width is based on the widest part of your hips. It's got an elastic waist and a nice substantial hem. This fabric was purchased in Ithaca NY, while on vacation, it was $4.73 and was a remnant in the discount rack. Add in the elastic for the waist and rick rack for the hem detail and I made this skirt for less than $10! Same goes for the skirt above, however I think that was was even less, MAYBE $6 bucks!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Vacation 2.0

This post is WAY overdue.... in fact really any post from me is way overdue... what can I say, we've been playing a LOT and enjoying the summer. That leaves me with little time to properly blog...

The last week in June, we packed up the kids and the car again and drove north this time to the finger lakes region of NY. Cayuga Lake to be specific. We've been traveling there since before the dawn of time (or at least that's what it seems like). We planned to spend a week with my family. We had some nice weather early in the week, then things got quite soggy... we did manage to get in a decent amount of swimming and water fun during the mornings and early afternoons... then almost every day after dinner things turned gray and either rained or threatened to.

We did have a LOT of fun though, here are some photos to prove it:

In this photo, you are seeing silly towel hats and fart noise instruction.


In this photo, this is what you would call a Toddler Burrito with a side of Silly Sunglasses.


Lots of family fun.


And even a photo shoot with a "supermodel" for a centerfold. Courtesy of my brother, Jesse.

More photos can be found here.

Friday, July 10, 2009

just like that

And just like that, I think Andy might be done with his morning nap.... for the past month or so it's been something that depending on our schedule, I would put him down or we would continue to play or go on a playdate or hit the beach or whatever.... today, I asked him, "Andy, are you ready for a nap?" he said, "no." and ran away. he's happily playing and not really showing any signs of needing to sleep.... I'm sure there will still be the random occasion when he will need to rest in the morning... but I'm pretty sure those will end up being rare and exstinct very soon too.

I have about 3 planned blogs in my head... lake vacation wrap up, gardening (jumping on the bandwagon here), and a new recipe. hopefully, my photos will be rescued from never never land soon so that those posts can be written...

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Beach Vacation and Language

We spent last week at the beach. This is the 3rd year in a row that we traveled there, it was the 2nd year that we spent the week with Chris's family. We travel to Lewes Beach DE and it's about a 7 hour drive including lunch stops and such. Chris's Aunt and Uncle from Denver travel there as well and they usually bring 2 grandchildren. This year they brought Elias and Andrew with them, both boys were 12 years old. My kids learned a LOT from the boys :) Max's language and sentence structure exploded while there. He's speaking in nearly full sentences and it's just hilarious. Andy also has had an explosion of sorts, his words currently consist of the following:
cup - which means cup and also water in terms of water in the bathtub and water in the ocean
help
up
off (he tells us to turn lights and ceiling fans off - however off also apparently means ON)
cat
puppy
hello
buh bye
bike
book
ball
uh huh
boo boo
sheep

He also understands everything! Including his brother. Max has started to instruct Andy during play, Andy sometimes listens. And this results in a lot of 10 minute play sessions where they are playing with the SAME toy (the fisher price farm for example). No one gets mad, screams or cries. i call that progress! Max is also really learning to share. This is a great change as well :)

Here are a few photos from vacation:


Max enjoying a banana ice cream cone - while eating this, he bit a whole in the cone and started to 'hoot', I asked him what he was doing and he replied, "Looking for an owl." Since the topic of ice cream flavors seems to be a popular one these days, banana might be a good one to try, this was outstanding!


This was taken the evening we got there, after dinner we headed to the beach in our regular clothes... I should have known better... I tried to keep the kids from getting completely soaked but slightly damp turned into wet pants, and wet pants turned into damp shirt and damp shirt turned into completely soaked. I threw in the towel at wet pants... LOL they had fun and so did we and frankly i'm pretty sure that is all that matters.

More photos can be seen here.

In crafty news, I knit a few more washrag's the circular ones from MDK, I just love those. And, I started a project requested by my cousin. She requested a beach bag. I had a hard time finding fabric that I loved... and that I knew SHE would love. Until Monday.... It's a large floral print. I've started sewing the Everything Tote from Weekend Sewing by Heather Ross. Examples can be found here. Photos to follow soon.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Friday, May 29, 2009

Smashing Smock: Following Directions

I have ventured into the world of sewing women's apparel. My first pattern to follow is from Anna Maria Horner's book titled Seams to Me: 24 New Reasons to Love Sewing. I followed the pattern almost to the T. I did add an extra inch of width to all pieces and i later found that i need to add way more than one lonely inch... her book has lots of "how to's" regarding apparel adjustments. So making the proper adjustments to make one to fit ME will not be difficult.

Materials used:
One queen sized top sheet purchased for $.48 at the thrift store.
Coordinating thread I had in my crafty corner.
1 Matching vintage button from this excursion.


Aside from the size issues.... I am very happy with the end result. Plus, I worked out the kinks on this trial run so that with version 2.0 I should have zero hiccups. (there were a few and an experienced seamstress would be able to point them out in a flash. But to the general public, the shirt is a smash!

More photos from this project can be found here.

Monday, May 18, 2009

almost a month

It has almost been a month since I posted last... sorry for the neglect!

We've been really busy in the past few weeks, Chris has been finishing up his semester, that's usually a pretty busy week or so, and we've started some home improvement projects too, so we've been outside and running here or there and that leaves me with little time to blog or even create things to blog about. I haven't been knitting much of anything.... except for these:


This was the first one i knit knowing that i would use it as a drawstring pouch for a pretty bar of soap. This along with a CD was my gift to my mother on Mother's day. This pattern comes from MDK, I've knit a few already and love to use them as kitchen washcloths. They are a great size and are also entertaining to knit.

In other crafting news, I've purchased three new sewing books.... they are scheduled to arrive tomorrow. I'm hoping for some inspiration to fall out of those. I also purchased some fabric for new couch pillows. My current ones completely split at the seams..... not a good look... the pillow form is still in perfect shape though so i'll be sewing new covers. I also have plans to make this for myself OR something similar. I have a goal of sewing a skirt and at least three shirts/blouses for me to wear THIS summer. I need to get sewing!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

andy updates

i am fairly certain that by the time Maxwell was 14 months old that i had update after update on his new tricks and what he was doing on a rather weekly or biweekly basis... poor Andy, truly a second child....

So, to keep things fair, here's an OVERDUE Andrew update:
He's talking! He mostly says Mama quite repetitively and Dada too, but not as much as Mama ;), but on top of that in the past few weeks he's been making all sorts of animal noises which include but are not limited to, Moo, Baa, cockadoodledoo, woof, and on the rare occasion meow. He's also been saying CAT for quite some time. Also, shoes and socks. And, the affirmative Ahha after any and every question we ask him. Our conversations usually sound like this, me: Do you want a drink? him: Ahha! me: Are you poopy? him: Ahha! me: Do you want to sleep on the porch in the rain? him: Ahha!

REAL TIME UPDATE: he's currently standing on his desk. He climbs EVERYTHING these days, so much so that i've had to start using the gate at the bottom of the steps again. he'll climb onto chairs and stand, he'll climb onto the couch and stand. He even climbed onto one of our new deck chairs, stood, then proceeded to try to climb up the back of the chair. yeah... good one....

He's started to be able to feed himself lately too, he uses a fork and his hand but it's a start. As a result, he's an absolute MESS after each meal... i can't wait for this skill to be honed a bit...

Tantrums are in full swing, initially they consisted of him throwing himself on the floor, arching his back and screaming for about 15 minutes... nothing helped him. These have now morphed into him standing, arching his back and doing what sounds like a fake cry, it's very repetitive sounding and i believe he has decided that standing is better because he doesn't bang his head on the floor and hurt himself if he's standing... he's a smart one!

He's also becoming VERY sneaky! He will take something of Max's and sorta wave it around in front of Max, then he runs away giggling!!! I don't know where he learned this trick but it's HILARIOUS to watch! He's constantly in motion, he barrels through anyone and anything to get what he wants and he doesn't care if he's steping on a cat, your face, his brother or off a set of stairs....

I can't wait to see what's in store for him this Spring and Summer - should be fun and VERY active!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

new bag


This is my new bag, the outer fabric is something i purchased at the Salvation Army's 21st Annual Fabric Fair, the buttons are too. It's lined with traditional linen and i used cotton flannel as a stabilizer. The pattern: MY VERY OWN! yay! it's simple, it was easy and i plan on making more. I also plan on figuring out what sort of stabilizer and interfacing i prefer. While the flannel creates body, it's not as stiff as i would prefer. I'm thinking about trying flannel and sew-in heavy duty interfacing. I also am going to stay away from linen as often as i can manage to do so. It's NOT fun to cut. I swore quite a bit while cutting out the lining and the strap parts...

Details to note: there is an inside pocket large enough to hold a cell phone, business card holder, pack of gum, pen, mp3 player and lip gloss. There is also a magnetic closure so that everything stays put if it's upended. More photos found here.

Oh and one more thing, this one is for ME! Yay for selfish crafting!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

helpful link about blog photography

I just wanted to share this blog with my readers. there are some really helpful tips and reminders for how to take good photos for your blog. i know i don't usually share links here but this one i found to be appropriate. don't worry, this won't be the norm.

now, if my camera would be in normal working order, i would now leave you with a photo of some of the beautiful red tulips that have bloomed in my yard... but for now you'll just have to imagine... quite ironic since this is a post about photography huh....

Saturday, April 4, 2009

The Salvation Army’s 21st Annual Fabric Fair

i went here today with some friends. we all fared well. i am full of inspiration. so much so that after we put the kids to bed this evening, i organized my fabric stash. it is now in neat stacks on a small set of shelves in my crafty corner of the 3rd floor office. it's neatly folded and organized by fiber, print and yardage.

the SAAFF was really interesting. i found buttons, zippers, yards of fabric, patterns and a sewing magazine ooooh and a LOT of inspiration, all for $30.34!!!

here are a few of my finds:








photos of everything i brought home can be found here.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Hand Knit Easter Chicks

These are adorable!!!! So fun to make and pretty easy too! I had all the yarn used on hand, it's a great way to use up some scraps too! Who says that they have to be NORMAL colors :) ha!

Anyways, I found this pattern The Purl Bee. It was easy to follow and she has lots of good "how to" photos to help you along the way. There are also two other patterns for a bunny and a lamb.

So far, I have one complete. But I have TWO little boys so I will be knitting the wings and applying the eyes, beak and fuzzy head feathers on chick number two tonight after bedtime. They will be gifted tomorrow :)


Thursday, March 26, 2009

buttercup bag

we celebrated my sister-in-law's birthday over the weekend. i had decided a few weeks ago that i was going to sew a bag for her. i had intended on making another one of these. i had purchased khaki linen to use as the main color. i had a black fabric with little circles and tiny flowers to use for the pleats and lining. i started to cut the fabric one night, i made a mistake due to tiredness and put it aside for another day. the next day i came across this blog. she had recently posted this free pattern for the buttercup bag. and i was hooked. her pattern was simple to follow, i cut the fabric and sewed it together throughout the day and into the evening, during nap and after bedtime. then i completed the strap the following afternoon. total construction time took maybe 3 hours, maybe....

this is the outcome:

button detail - vintage button purchased at Collection Antiques in Trumansburg, NY - it's black mother of pearl and i have 5 more for other projects


finished bag

i added a few structural items, i added cotton flannel to the inside as a stabelizer and did the same with the strap. i didn't want a completely slouchy bag, i like my bags to have a bit of structure, this helped perfectly. i also completed ironed pleats, next time, i'll only iron the tops so that the pleat bottoms pop out a little more.