Thursday, September 15, 2011

...and airplanes, oh my!

 Just finished this little guy for a friend to give as a baby gift.  I lovelovelove how he turned out!  I couldn't find any good patterns I liked so I went off on my own.  He's stumpier than the last one I made but just so I want one for me!    

sock monkeys and owls...

 I'm currently climbling out from under a huge pile of yarn, hooks in hand.  This summer I signed up to have a table at our local craft fair in Nov. to sell my Ouchie Owls, Boo Boo Birds and sock monkey hats.  Thinking I'd have plenty of time to stock the table, I started slowly working on some hats and other assorted baby/kid gear to put out for sale.  Ha!  Since I started working on stuff for the fair, I've gotten 10 separate orders for monkey hats, two of them while I was sitting on the bleachers at a football game.... my tiny friend slash amazing baby-sized advertiser Quentin was also there sporting his sock monkey hat and causing quite a stir with all his cuddly cuteness.  With all those orders coming in I've hardly accumulated much of anything for the fair but I do still have a month and a half.  Those last few days I'll no doubt be up at all hours.  Here are a few of the items I've finished in the last few days:     

Monday, August 29, 2011

Back to School Cake Pops!

 With a nod to my new "baking" hero (the quotes are because these really aren't baked), Bakerella, I attempted my first ever batch of cake pops to celebrate the first day of school.  I love how they came out and will definitely have to make them again! 
 The above recipe describes what I did, based mostly on the one by  She's amazing, and her photos made me want to try one of each of her designs (I'm totally taken in by really good photos of things).  I made a few changes in the coating, however, because out here in the sticks I have to rely on Walmart for my supplies and they only had candy melts in red, white, and brown.  I totally lucked out with the red but I wanted to do some in apple green color so I had to come up with my own.  Enter white Almond Bark -- I had to laugh at the brand I found, called Pilgrim's Pantry....did the pilgrims really have much need for candy coating, what with all the seasickness and colony-building?  Anyway, I looked all over the web for instructions on how to effectively tint almond bark....I'd heard before that you can't use water-based food coloring drops because water "breaks" the candy coating like it does chocolate....but all I found was more people railing against water-based food coloring.  Holding fast to the anthem, "There must be a better way!", I tried it anyway.  Turns out, if you melt the bark, add a few drops of food coloring, add Crisco one tablespoon at a time, and stir A LOT, the bark will return to dipping consistancy and actually still tastes pretty good.    I got the green apple color by using one drop of blue with 6 drops of neon green (it's like a perfect Shrek color -- I also used it last year for the alien cupcakes at Josiah's 3rd b'day). 

Love 'em!  I'll have to try different ones for the kids' b'days from time to time.  I'm thinkin' a Cake Pop party is in order, of every kind, please!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Josiah turned 4!

So, our little man turned 4! Once I got over the fact that he's been with us for four years already. . . has it REALLY been that long?!?! . . . I got to work planning his party. His favorite movie right now is Gnomeo & Juliet so that's what he wanted for his party. But I don't think the movie did very well overall because there was no merchandise to be found -- no figurines, no plush, no decorations, nothing! -- so we had to make up our own. For the invites I found an image online of one of the official movie posters and added my own text, then printed them as 4x6 photos.
We had the Reds Vs. the Blues just like the movie, complete with Mr. and Mrs. Featherstone (the flamingos): The cupcakes were red and blue gnomes "hiding" in the grass:
I took sugar cones and coated them with melted Candy Melts, then sunk them into the frosting "grass" on top of chocolate cupcakes. The Travelocity Roaming Gnome made an appearance (found him at Target along with the fantastic mushrooms which I painted) as well as the stuffed crocheted version I made years ago. He (the crocheted one) lives in the center console of my car and has been photographed all over CA, WY, NM, CO, NV, UT, OR and even went with my parents and aunt & uncle to Hawaii two years ago . . . I have a whole scrapbook devoted to his excursions! The treats on the Red side were strawberries, dark chocolate Hershey candies (3 shades of red), cupcakes with Strawberry Fields ice cream and Coke and red Hawaiian Punch. The treats on the Blue side were blueberries, York peppermint candies (blue & white), cupcakes with Birthday Bash ice cream (confetti ice cream with blue frosting ribbons throughout) and Pepsi and blue Hawaiian Punch.We had our own version of "Nanette the Frog" -- my mom's vintage cookie jar. That thing is older than I am and has been repainted several times but I love it! My dad would happily let it live at my house permanently but Mom wanted it back.He had to eat the frosting first:After the presents . . . the kid made out like a BANDIT, I tell you . . . and the treats, we all went back outside to launch the Gnome Paratroopers!The paratroopers were a huge hit!
And finally, we ended the night with Gnome tattoos. Those little guys were the HARDEST thing to remove -- they said "temporary" but 5 days and that many showers later I finally had to take the nail polish remover to mine and he still didn't budge.
Josiah said he loved his party and had a ton of fun with all his friends and family. I was glad to hear it, because I had a blast! Love that little guy!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

SYTYC is over for me...Sad!

So, after a 5 week run, I got last place and was "voted off" last week. Sad! The 5th, 4th, and 3rd place people were only separated by 3 votes, but my time was up this round. I loved competing and will miss it, but it'll also be nice to just craft for fun instead of deadlines, etc, which turned out to be way more stressful for me than I thought it would! Anyway, here's what would have been my entry for the Kids Can Do week which is taking place right now -- go on over and vote for your fave! And now I present: Genesis' Swimsuit Cover-Up!

When I was 8 years old, I spent a summer with my grandma learning to sew. She was a fantastic seamstress and I loved spending time with her just to soak up all the knowledge she seemed to exude. My own daughter turns 8 this winter and so I decided it was high time for her to learn the basics, and what better opportunity than the Kids Can Do week at SYTYC! She's been wanting to make a swimsuit cover-up for herself and here it is!
She picked out the fabric and buttons and did about half the sewing (until Phineas & Ferb came on tv and I lost her completely). I made the design as easy as possible so she could follow my instructions:
The swimsuit cover is made of lightweight fleece to absorb the water but not be too hot, and it was perfect for her to sew because it doesn't fray like terry cloth or knit. The front is held closed by stick-on strips of Velcro so she didn't burn out on button holes on her first project. The three buttons that are across the top are functioning but since the fleece doesn't fray it didn't need a fussy buttonhole. Now she's desperate to get to the lake and try it out. And she's got a notebook full of sewing projects to try before school begins again!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Week 4 - Upcycle

My favorite part about summer is the colors. All the stores have bright displays out and I love to browse and see what the new color schemes are for housewares and fashion. My sister recently sent me a care package in which she included several fantastically bright placemats. And while I love how this yellow one looked on my table:

I decided I wanted to be able to enjoy it more than just at mealtimes so I made it into a summery bag!
I added a double-sided (for added stability) ribbon for the handles and mitred the corners so it will stand up on the table by itself. It's fully washable and dryable and stain-repellant because in real life it's still a placemat. It's just big enough for an on-the-go summer -- my wallet, keys, phone, and a granola bar for the kids. I could also toss in a magazine or novel for those long hours by the pool.
I love how it looks hanging on my kitchen chair and can't wait to give it a try!

Ruby Red Grapefruit scarf

Made it another week! Here's my entry for Knock-off Week:

I have a new hero -- and her name is Twinkie Chan! She designs and crochets a whole line of food-inspired scarves and accessories, selling them on Etsy and Ebay as well as other places. (You can find her at Her designs make me happy and since I recently lost 40lbs, it's safer for me to merge my love of food with my love of (almost) all things crocheted. I thought this grapefruit scarf of hers was so crazy cutethat I decided to make my own version.

I made my grapefruit slices a little smaller so there were more of them going around and they have 7 sections instead of her 6. I also prefer Ruby Red grapefruit to the plain kind so I chose my colors accordingly. When I was a kid, grapefruit eaten at my grandparents' house was always sprinkled with sugar on top so I sewed on irridescent beads for a sparkly finish. It's my new favorite scarf -- and I hope you like it too!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Week 3 - Dollar Store tutorial

I was really happy with how this project turned out, and it was really easy to do, too! Here's a step-by-step description of what I did:
1. First, I used the nail polish to add some small dots and lines to the glass candle holders. I chose nail polish for 2 reasons; first - because I could find it at the Dollar Store and didn't have to make a separate trip for paint, and second - because if I made a mistake on the glass, a quick swipe with polish remover takes it all off.

I used it on all the glass pieces in some way or another but you could just leave them plain if you like it better.
2. I put the glue (E-6000) around the edges of the candle holder and glued it to the bottom of the smallest plate. Tip: Glue every piece upside down so that there's not a balance problem while it's drying. It's hard enough to get the glue to set without the plate falling off the top repeatedly. Firmly press the holder onto the plate until a tiny bead of glue squeezes out around the rim. This makes sure that there are no air bubbles along the rim. Repeat this step with the middle plate and candle holder (at the end of this step, you should have three items: the smallest plate and holder, the middle plate and holder, and the bottom plate by itself.)3. Once the holders were attached to the two upper plates - and DRY - I put glue around the bottom rim of the middle holder. Because E-6000 bonds better when both pieces to be attached have glue on them, I used the holder to "stamp" a ring of glue onto the center of the bottom plate. This also helped mark where the center was so it wouldn't be cocky-waller.Reapply glue to the bottom of the middle holder and press onto the glue ring "stamp". Press hard to squeeze out any air bubbles.4. When step 3 is completely DRY, repeat step 3 with the smaller top plate and holder. Allow to dry completely - usually at least 24 hours.

5. Glue the bases onto the smaller dip bowls in the same way -- upside down, apply glue to rim of glass, press hard to squeeze out air bubbles, let dry.

That's it! Now it's time to try them out. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

I made it again ~Week 2~

Thanks to all who voted over at! I made it through to Week three; the entries are up so come on over and vote!

Here's my entry for the Week 2 Make Believe:

My son's favorite person in the whole wide world is our mailman. He loves him so much that he waits at the window every day, rain or shine, for the mailman to come just so he can wave to him. I decided it was time for us to have a mailman outfit of our own: I found an old pair of navy pants at the thrift store, along with a blue broadcloth button-down shirt and a tiny navy blue beanie (we live in the cold most of the year and our mailman wears a ski cap). I printed out some post office insignia and a "letter carrier" name tag onto iron-on transfer sheets and sewed them on to the hat, the shirt and the bag. The bag was just a remnant of fabric I had around the house which I fashioned into a messenger bag and added the stars and stripes ribbon strip. And because the mailman needs letters to deliver, I made some felt postcards and envelopes to go in the bag. I used various ribbon strips for the addresses and return-addresses and cut hearts and diamonds for the stamps. Some of the envelopes open and close with velcro so he could write his own note and letters.When the outfit was done, my son ran out to show our mailman -- and was rewarded with a ride in the mail truck! Love that little Mailman!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

SYTYC Auditions- I made it!

For those of you who hadn't guessed, the football buddies were mine! I made it through the first week of voting - thanks for all the votes, friends! Here's the entry as it appeared:Meet "Annie" and "Jake"! My husband is a huge San Francisco 49ers fan and our kids love screaming at the, I mean, watching the games....with him. I made these little friends to join the party! "Annie" loves to tail-gate so I made her a watermelon to share: And "Jake" is in his 49ers jammies with a blankie to cuddle with at bedtime. And because I love accessories (but hate picking them up all over the floor), I made his blankie "attachable" -- two loops for his arm to slide through.These two have become very well-loved friends around our house, especially during football season.
Now, if only the 49ers could get to the Superbowl!