30 June 2010

Decorating for the 4th of July

Project #2 - Star Spangled Banner

I "borrowed" this idea from The Long Thread. She has such great ideas, and they are usually very kid-friendly too.

  • Fabric - I used canvas, but any sturdy fabric will work
  • Cardboard or something to put under the fabric to prevent the paint from bleeding through
  • Fabric paint
  • Glitter paint
  • Cotton strips or ribbon 
  • Triangle pattern
  • Star fruit or star shaped stamp  
Funny story about the star fruit - I went to the supermarket to buy a star fruit, my inner penny pincher grumbling about buying exotic fruit to use for a stamp. They were out of star fruit. I approached the produce lady, who dug one out of her trash box for me. She had just thrown them out because they were starting to turn moldy. She cut off the bad bits and gave them to me for free.  Inner penny pincher smiles happily and subsides into silence. It never hurts to ask. 

Cut the star fruit in half. Dry out a bit on a paper towel. While you wait, cut your triangles out of fabric, paper or canvas. 
Using the star stamp or star fruit, make a couple of practice stamps on your cardboard or a scrap of fabric. If you like it, go for it!

Let it dry for at least 4 hours.

Now cut a strip (I did 1 inch strips) of cotton or ribbon the length you want. I wanted my banner to go over my front door, so I cut a length to fit 6 triangles plus 6 inches on either end. Pin the triangles to the ribbon or fabric strips, and sew. I went for the zigzag stitch. Super easy, and then if I go a bit crooked, it's harder to tell...

Just a note - we used red, white and blue paint. The white did not show up that well, so I used the glitter paint to go around the edges of the  white stars. It definitely helped. You can see that in the first photo. All that's left is hanging it up!

 Here are some other photos of our festive front porch:


29 June 2010

Celebrating the Fourth of July

I don't know about you (my U.S. readers) but we are big celebrators of the 4th of July at my house. This year, we are going on a road trip to small town America, to a place that knows how to celebrate the 4th of July. We will also be celebrating my mother-in-law's 70th birthday. A big weekend. 

The kids and I have been working on a few projects that we hope will enhance the celebration.

Project #1 - A Patri-botic Centerpiece

Oh how we love this magazine! Just inside is a darling robot made from mostly recycled materials. It was so easy! Here's how:


1 copy of Family Fun June/July 2010
1 clear pail (Michaels)
Duct tape in red, white and blue (Michaels)
2 15 oz cans of food - food still in. Remove label and mark the contents on the lid so you'll know what's inside.
2 toilet paper tubes
1 (1 pound) peanut can or something similar
2 bottle caps
Glue gun

Wrap the red and white duct tape around the toilet paper tubes.

Wrap the blue duct tape around the peanut can.

Make eyes from the white duct tape and a mouth from the red duct tape.

Here's where I deviate somewhat from the magazine instructions. They used tape to attach the arms and the bottle cap eyes to the robot. I decided hot glue would work better. In spite of my doubtful history with hot glue, it worked really well.

Isn't he cute? The whole thing took us about 20 minutes, and cost about $10. Less if you reflect that you now have a lifetime supply of red, white and blue duct tape...

27 June 2010

Weekend Book Review - The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

A really fun mystery! I loved the quirky style of this story. I thoroughly enjoyed the dialogue, the literary and scientific references and the cheeky behavior of Flavia (the heroine). The mystery was unfolded gradually and I was able to piece it together along with Flavia, which was fun. I would definitely read another.

26 June 2010

Tea Party Food - Part One

I'm starting with dessert. All good parties start with dessert, right? You may have seen these around: they are called cake pops, and they are super cute.

You can make them in your very own kitchen! Warning - it is a bit labor intensive and there are some chilling/freezing times to factor in. Do not start this the morning of the tea party. Think the night before.

Here is what you'll need:
  • A cake mix - you choose the flavor
  • A tub of frosting - a flavor that is yummy with the cake mix you chose
Make the cake according to package directions, bake and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Then dump the whole thing into a large mixing bowl. Stir in 3/4 of the tub of frosting and mix well. Refrigerate for 2 hours.

Remove from refrigerator, and make balls. I like to use my small scoop from The Pampered Chef.

Place the cake balls in a wax paper lined container with a lid. Now, cover those little balls tightly, and freeze for at least 6 hours.

The remaining ingredients:
  • 1 package of Wilton Candy Melts*
  • decorating goodies (crushed oreos, frosting,  sprinkles, etc.)
  • toothpicks or lollipop sticks if you are making pops**
  • wax paper
* You can use the bark you find at the grocery store, but honestly, the Wilton Candy Melts work better and taste better, in my opinion.
**Note: If you are making pops, be sure to find a piece of styrofoam or something to hold the pops upright like in the first photo. They will dry nice and even and pretty (not like mine that are dropped on the wax paper...)

Melt the candy according to package instructions. Using only a few of the frozen cake balls at a time (they are much easier to work with frozen) dip them in the melted chocolate/candy.

If you are planning to decorate, now is the time. The candy melt hardens quickly, so you need to sprinkle, roll, or whatever as fast as you can. If you are planning to drizzle frosting, you may wait until the candy melt hardens.
Let the dipped and decorated cake balls harden, then plate and serve. 

Coming soon - Tea sandwiches!

23 June 2010

Amelie Jo

Anna was one of my very earliest "Etsy friends" and is a very talented lady. She is the designer and creator of "French Inspired, children's altered couture, lovingly crafted with vintage embellishments, making each item a unique piece of wearable art for your little one." Everything is made using organic cotton with vintage embellishments.

Here are some of my favorites - isn't the model a doll?:
Alice in Wonderland inspired

Beautiful organic shirt with a moth - I am ordering this one, so hands off!

 Darling ruffled tank dress, so cute with those ruffled pants.

Take some time and have a look around Amelie Jo. You will be sure to find something your little sweetheart can't live without. Also check out her blog, Amelie Jo Altered Couture. There's always something fun to see there.

22 June 2010

Have You Seen the Silhouette?

If you haven't seen one, hide your eyes. As soon as you see what it can do, you will want one.

Check out the Silhouette blog and the Silhouette website and see how to videos and amazing projects.

You can enter to win one this week at Tatertots and Jello. While you're there, read this fun blog - full of great projects and tutorials and much, much more!

Note to my friends: If any of you win this, I want to use it sometimes...

21 June 2010

The Winner Is...

Karen Whitney said...
Love it! My favorite summer activity is taking the kids to the pool and also visiting my family-we always all get together at least once a year in the summer!

20 June 2010

Sewing Through the Decades 1920-1929

I know - two posts today - I just can't seem to get to the Sewing Through the Decades challenge until Friday night or Saturday. Anyway, for today I made a little girl's dress inspired by the film Thoroughly Modern Millie

Do take 5 minutes and watch the intro on YouTube. It's a riot. I used to watch this with my Mom every summer. We had to get up at about 1 am and watch it on the late late show. Good memory.

The dress may be circa 1920, but the attitude is all 2010. Kind of looks like it would work for the 1980's too,  doesn't it?

Weekend Book Review - Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress

Set in China during the time of the Cultural Revolution, this book tells the story of two friends. They are sent from the city to the country to work with the peasants and be reeducated. Through another city boy, they obtain western literature, including Balzac and Alexandre Dumas. Reading these books changes their lives and the lives of others around them. A quick and very enjoyable read.

18 June 2010


As you are aware - I have just knitted 2 darling little tooth fairy dolls. I am super happy with how they turned out. Don't forget to enter the giveaway for a chance to win one of them!

My current project - aside from Knitting With Elizabeth - is a market bag. I bought recycled cotton yarn by Lion Brand to make it.

As it turns out, this yarn is fabulous. I love working with it. It has a sturdy, linen-like feel to it and it works up very smoothly.

The photo shows the bottom of the bag and the start of the lace pattern that makes up the stretchy sides. I'll show you the finished product next week.

15 June 2010

I Made This For You!

Remember this post? The pile of yarn shapes have turned into this:

She is a darling little felted doll 10" tall. She has a little purse for holding lost teeth until the tooth fairy can come. She also has a magic wand, not pictured here because it's drying. Look! She even has wings...

I made this little sweetheart for you - to say THANK YOU for visiting my blog, commenting and just being there. 

To win: 

Become a follower of my blog, if you aren't already and leave a comment about your favorite summer activity. This can be done on one comment.

The giveaway will close Saturday at midnight and the winner will be chosen by random drawing.

I can't wait to see who wins!

13 June 2010

Sewing Through the Decades 1910-1919 - Update!

My first submission to sewing through the decades was inspired by this photo from the Wisconsin Historical Society.

My intention was to make a skirt to go over the pantalettes, however, I didn't quite finish it, and it's time to go out to dinner with friends.  So, here are my pantalettes, sans skirt. I will show a photo tomorrow (hopefully) of the skirt and the pantalettes together. I should also mention that it is 6 pm on a dark and rainy day ...

Here is the photo with the skirt. I think it turned out pretty cute. The real miracle is that she is wearing it at all...

12 June 2010

Weekend Book Review - The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency

The first in a series about a young woman from Botswana named Precious. When her father dies, she starts her own detective agency. Her insight into human nature and her sympathy for others helps her be successful. It reads more like a series of short stories, but well connected. The stories are sad, sweet, funny, and occasionally a little scary. I recommend the entire series.

11 June 2010

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Around Mother's Day, we optimistically started preparing our garden. We rebuilt the raised bed, which we had cobbled together in a rather dodgy fashion last year. Dodgy meaning that whenever we had a reasonably vigorous rainstorm (nearly every day) erosion was inevitable. We needed a better box. When we were turning the soil and amending it for a new year and building the new box,  we dug up a nest of 7 baby bunnies. So cute - just running all over the yard.

Well... now, as you can imagine, they are not so cute. They are eating a few of my plants (not the garden) and pooping all over the grass. Out of the seven, it appears that three have relocated, and four are living under a pine tree in the back yard. We have some traps set, and we're hoping to catch them and relocate them to the open space about 1/2 mile away.

Our garden is planted, and it is doing well. I have a new raised bed (Happy Mother's Day!) about 2 feet high, and I have planted tomatoes (1 heirloom and 8 romas), a pumpkin, a cantaloupe a zucchini and a yellow squash. We also have some beans, Swiss chard and basil. Yum!

Check out this awesome garden marker I got from Wooden Hive!

How does your garden grow?

10 June 2010

I Have a Surprise For You

There is a giveaway coming soon - and the hint is this photo. I made one for my daughter, and it was so cute, I had to make one for you. Look for the finished surprise and giveaway on Monday.

In other news... I am participating in Sewing Through the Decades. I am working right now on a reproduction of a dress from 1910-1919. Oh, the gathers! I will have an update on that project tomorrow, hopefully. Visit A Lemon Squeezy Home to see what people made for the first decade (1900-1909).

09 June 2010

Meet Galia of Noni Bam!

I'd like to introduce you to one of my favorite Etsy Moms. She is fun to talk to (via e-mail), always has great advice and fun ideas for promoting our businesses, and I'd love to meet her in person someday! Read about her and then visit her shop. I'm sure you'll find something there to love!


Have you always been crafty, or is this something you picked up more recently?
I've always been crafty I guess. When I was a child I used to do Arts & Crafts with my grandmother who was an Arts & Crafts teacher. Later, as a teenager, I made lots of Friendship Bracelets. When I was a student I worked for a beads shop and made lots of jewelry there. And I always did very well on Arts & Crafts in school.

 How do you balance your time - mom, crafter, business woman, other things you do?
This is challenging indeed. My two daughters go to kindergarten daily from 8:30 to 15:30. So in the afternoons I spend time with them although my computer always tries to get my attention ;-). I don't miss out on sitting with them for dinner, giving them a bath (whilst discussing their day) and reading them a story just before they go to sleep. We do lots of travelling together which is both a quality time with the girls but also an opportunity to reflect on what I'm doing and discuss it with my husband.

What are some other things you enjoy (books, crafts, sports, etc.)
I used to dance ballet but I'm "too old" for lifting my legs to my ears ;-) Once I discovered Yoga, I got hooked!!I always say it's like putting oil onto rusty hinges. It keeps my body more flexible and mind more peaceful... I gets lots of answers to my questions when I practice Yoga. Suddenly the picture is clearer.

What are some of your favorite Etsy shops?
Where do I begin? I met some wonderful people and craftswomen on Etsy and I made some great new friends, for example - Orly from orlydesign (www.etsy.com/shop/orlydesign), Vered from veroque (www.etsy.com/shop/veroque). 
I love the originality of redbracelet's items (http://www.etsy.com/shop/RedBracelet).
For my children I love Tammy's designs from (http://etsy.com/shop/hotlavaclothing).
But this list is only partial, I love lots of other shops as you can see here:

What would you like people to know about you and about your business?
About me - that I enjoy what I'm doing, that I create new items whenever I get a chance, that Customer Service is very important to me, that honesty is one of the most important traits for me...

What is the first "crafty" thing you ever made?
That goes about 30 years back, when I was 7 ;-)
I think it was wire flowers. The process was that I bent a wire to make a petal shape, I dipped it into a type of material (I don't remember the material's name). The material dried on the wire and I got a petal. I then put them together into a flower. We used to do that with my grandmother who is very proud of me taking that route in my life more seriously nowadays...

Check out the lovely bracelet that I bought recently. It just came in the mail on Friday. It's perfect, and I love it! Thanks Galia! (p.s. She isn't paying me to say this)