Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Feeling Happy!

With the nonsense from the last post firmly in the past, I have been so happy lately! Thank you for all of your very kind comments. They made me feel much better!
I've been busy! I took some pictures of Mimsey for Father's day... Of course I had to make the costumes...

This is my little Garden Fairy. I totally dig the lavender and brown tutu, they look so great on Mimsey... The garden is another matter all together. Uh, please don't notice my functional, but not so pretty mess I've got growing out back... At least the basil is doing well.

And the little cherry dress pattern I got out of Heather Ross's Weekend Sewing book. What a delightful book!!! I had never worked with elastic thread before, but now I'm hooked. This is the 2nd little dress I've made for Mims, and I've got one in the works for 4th of July. She loves them because they're roomy and light and easy to play in. I dig them because everyone who knows how sewy crafty I am still is impressed when I tell them I made her dress... And it's soooo easy. Yay me!
Anyway, if you've got a spare hour (!) and a little one that would like a new summer dress, I totally recommend Weekend Sewing.
p.s. There's a little matching bloomers pattern in there as well. So cute!!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Crazy Weekend...

So, as you know, Jake works Tues-Sat. This gives us a delightful Monday of weekend every week, so while the rest of the world is hard at work we are still playing. This weekend was extra wonderful, since last week was sooooo long (extra work day and extra OSHA training hours, ugh!). Yippee! I got so much accomplished...

First: This is the patio behind our back door. It has been used for storage for as long as we have lived here. This weekend it was transformed into a play area for me and Mims...


It doesn't look much different now, but I spent hours pulling weeds from between the bricks. We found 3 potato bugs living out there, and a bag of raw compost from last year which almost made Jake throw up when he opened the bucket! Ahahahaha!!! (I shouldn't get so much glee from that!)


(Mims and my Grandma are enjoying the warm afternoon!)

Notice the tutus hanging for easy access, the fancy leopard print chair (another project this weekend!) and yup, my birthday banner. It will become a more inviting space as I get the couches from the storage unit, put in a place for us to draw and paint and glitter to our hearts content, and plant some flowers. But Mims decorated with sidewalk chalk so the bricks are very fancy now.

Mims really liked sitting in her comfy chair on the patio today! She picked roses and I made them into a crown for her. Aww! Isn't she beautiful? Where did my tiny baby go???!

Okay, so the other thing I got done this weekend was so cool I can hardly stand it. I made matching Mimsey and Mommy ladybug backpacks from a pattern by Sew Spoiled. They are ridiculously cute, and not one person who saw them asked if I had made them. (This is HUGE for me, as everyone knows how crafty-do-it-myselfy I am. Hell, even when I buy stuff, I get asked if I made it. Jake says I should take it as a compliment, but it's vaguely insulting in my mind... ) Anyway, the first pic is my bag, and the second Jake took when we went to lunch yesterday. I am thrilled with how they turned out.

Hey! If you're into that sort of thing I am totally rockin' my Bumpits in this picture! LOL!! Even Mommys need to feel pretty sometimes... ;D

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Fancy Mimsey?

We are obsessed with Fancy Nancy around here. Yes, truely we, as I love her as much (or maybe more?) than Mimsey does! We have been fancying everything around here, Mimsey's special pink sippy cup/sport bottle thingie, dressing her up so that she is fancy when we read, making fancy new backpacks... We are very, very posh (a fancy word for fancy). So, I was reading Mims "Fancy Nancy: Explorer Extrordinare" and in the book Nancy and Bree have an outdoor bedsheet playhouse that is so adorable that I squeeked when I saw it.

Obviously, Mimsey cannot live another day without one.

So I dragged my mom out to several thrift stores today looking for "just right" fancy sheets for the new playhouse. To my delight, Mimsey found a stuffed rocking armchair that she thought she should have so that Grandma could read her stories. It's a little grubby, but a nice leopard print sheet will cover up any apple juice stains from the past, and add some ribbon, and that's a pretty awesome reading chair.

Of course Mims is still obsessed with mermaids. She takes mermaid bubble baths every night, and serves the finest bubble tea in all the world (all the mermaids agree). And if you ask her, mermaids have hair that smells like coconuts. Really. Ask her. :D She is so awesome, that tiny girl of mine. Anyway, my point was that now the playhouse is not enough, because it will not be addressing her love of mermaids, but I do have an outdoor popup canopy that would be perfect to put a wading pool under and decorating to create a Mermaid Lagoon. Yes, I'm that Mommy. LOL!!!

So yippee for an awesome day, and with the next two days off, Jake gets to help me begin to put it together. I will take pictures so you can see the progress along the way. Uh, it's going to need a lot of progress....

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

High Holy Day?

Jacob and I joke that his religion is Geek. We go to the "Church of Geek" for Geek holidays, like opening days of big-ass geeky movies (Watchmen? Star Trek? He's gearing up for Transformers 2...) , or pretty much any Wednesday for new comics. He tells me that I must respect his religion and not mock it. Lately, to me, it's as good a religion as any.

Well, I honestly thought that I didn't have a church, until lo and behold, I do. The United Church of Crafting. And today was the holiest of holy days. Sew Mama Sew! is hosting the mother of all giveaways. I have spent the last 4 hours looking at new blogs, entering into giveaways, and enjoying my religion. My eyes are bleary, but I've seen the light! I have to go to bed now, but I will be up early to continue the fun. Pop over and see what I'm talking about, the giveaways are open for another 2 days. So much cool stuff out there, and really neat ideas. I am weeping with joy!!!

xoxoxo Jaime

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


I have been working on the quilt-along that Elizabeth from Oh Fransson! put up. It is an exceptional tutorial, and I wish it had been there when I was trying to teach myself to quilt a year and a half ago. My oldest and dearest friend is married to the most delightful quilter who bravely tried to show me the ropes after I begged and pleaded after seeing her amazing quilts. She lent me some books, and helped me put my 1st (and only, the 2nd never did get it's binding on) quilt together. But what I really learned that weekend was that not everyone has the right personality to be a quilter. I am not one of the lucky.

First off, I am a knit/sew/create with purpose kind of gal. While I enjoy all of it, none of it, (and family members take note because I'm going to repeat myself) NONE of it is relaxing to me. I power through it because I really want to wear the scarf that I'm knitting, or I want to dress Mimsey in the cute outfit I'm sewing, or I can't afford to buy Christmas presents because we declared bankruptcy and I don't have credit cards anymore... Ouch, that last part was a little sadder than I meant for it to be. Anyway, the point is, I don't sew because it's a lovely way to spend an afternoon. I sew because I want a quilt and can't afford Pottery Barn prices...

Second, I don't enjoy housework. Again, I think there are two types of people, the ones who can't relax until the room is clean, and the kind that can only relax if there's a little clutter around. I am not saying that I don't enjoy a clean house, but I am more than happy to let the housekeeper (a perk that I very much enjoy because someone else pays for it) do it. Quilting is all about ironing. Precision, and ironing. Precision, ironing, and very careful sewing. And a lot of threads that have to be trimmed off, and wind up on my shirt, the floor, the dog, and a handful in Mimsey's hair. Every single strip has to be ironed. They don't spell it out for you in the quilting books, or perhaps it's just that they don't emphasize it, but I will. Sew a seam, get up and iron. Pick up the threads that fell on the floor. Try not to step on the dog or toddler. Sit back down and sew another seam. Keep the toddler from pulling the ironing board over. Get up and iron. Pick up more threads, which is weird, because there are more threads on the floor this time than I have even cut...

Partner all of this "fun" with the fact that I am not a precision cutter. I am a "close-enough" kinda gal. The projects that I do, for the most part, do not depend on the precise nature of my cutting. Quilting does. Cut one piece too small and you are screwed. Sew them together with a seam that's slightly larger or smaller than the pattern calls for and you're screwed. The other day as I was complaining to Jake, he said that I should be grateful that I'm living in the era of rotary cutters and clear rulers, since in the past all of the quilt pieces had to be cut out by scissors. He then went on to weave a story about elderly Amish women and the length of their hair being a sign of their scissor cutting skills, which is where he lost me and I changed the subject because he was getting too silly.

So, pretty much, the quilt that took everyone else a week to put together, I am still trying to make work. Someday I hope to post a picture of it, which will make you laugh because I have had to deviate from the pattern and blaze a new trail, which means that the quilt looks only vaguely like the cute one that Elizabeth designed. But it will be just as warm.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Dumb Computer

I feel bad that I haven't posted in a couple of weeks. My computer's backlight died again, and I just can't seem to find the time to come up here and use the "big" computer. But, on the upside, I have completed a bunch of projects...

I've rediscovered my love of painting, so I've been working on some tiny Shag/Coop/Classic Pinup inspired pieces to use as magnets or (the really awesome ones) as pendants. I've been covering them in resin, and they are turning out very cool.

I got a chance to sew last weekend, and that was cool too. Made Mims a bunch of stuff, and a got a couple of aprons done for Mom's Day...

Friday, April 3, 2009

Wedded Bliss

Today my brother-in-law is getting married.  Jake and I got to write the ceremony, and Jake got ordained by the Universal Life Church so he's going to perform the ceremony.  We've been joking that he is marrying his own brother.  Ew.  Funny!

I'm super proud of the ceremony and vows, so I thought I'd post them here (and also as a precaution in case we lose/forget the papers at home - totally something I'd do.).  And maybe it will inspire some family members to go ahead and follow me.  ;D  So, here it is...

Marriage, marriage is what brings us together today.  And love.  True love.
Here we are, on this lovely evening, and I'm honored to get to unite my brother and his beautiful bride in marriage.
For those of you that don't know, today, April 3rd, is a special day for Brandon and Sandy.  It is five years, to the day, of their first date, which took place right here at the Queen Mary.  And when Brandon proposed to Sandy, in Rome, it was on their third anniversary.  This day holds so much meaning and special memories for them, that is was impossible to choose any other day to celebrate their decision to spend the rest of their lives together.
I'm happy to get to be here to celebrate with them, because I've seen the journey that their relationship has taken over the last five years.  They have searched out the best coffee in Orange County, and the best breakfast places.  They have traveled all over the world, and have made friends wherever they've gone.  Sandy, the change that you've brought to my brother's life has been amazing.  And Brandon, thanks for bringing Sandy into our lives.  She's funny, and smart, and a whole lot of fun.
Marriage is a serious commitment.  The vows are not to be taken lightly, because they are promises you are making to each other.  Brandon, you and I were both raised with the idea that your family is your most important priority.  Family stands by you when you need help.  They are the ones that will not only celebrate the big victories with you, but they will cheer your tiny victories just as loudly.  They'll love you at your best, and they'll love you if you act like a jackass.  They love you forever, even when you're not lovable to yourself.  And that's how I feel your commitment to your marriage should be.  You are not just going to be Sandy and Brandon anymore, but you are becoming a family.  A family to look out for each other, to keep each other safe, and to love each other; both when it's easy, and when it's not so easy.
On this very special day, in front of all of your friends and family, you are promising to share all that life has to experience, with each other.  You are promising to love each other, faithfully, for the rest of your lives.

So, with that understanding, Brandon, do you wish to marry Sandy?
(I do)
Then repeat after me:
I, Brandon, take you, Sandy,
to be my wife and my one true love.
To honor you and to treasure you
Laugh with you and cry with you
Loving you faithfully, through good times and bad
Regardless of the obstacles we may face together.
I give you my hand, my heart, and my love
For all the days of my life.

And Sandy, do you wish to marry Brandon?
(I do)
Then repeat after me:
I, Sandy, take you, Brandon
to be my husband and my one true love.
To honor you and to treasure you
Laugh with you and cry with you
Loving you faithfully, through good times and bad
Regardless of the obstacles we may face together.
I give you my hand, my heart, and my love
For all the days of my life.

Brandon and Sandy have decided to exchange rings, as a visible sign to the world of the commitment they have made today.
(take Sandy's ring, give to Brandon)
Brandon, repeat after me:
This ring I give to you, as a token of my love and devotion.
I pledge to you all that I am, and all that I will ever be.

(take Brandon's ring, give to Sandy)
Sandy, repeat after me:
This ring I give to you, as a token of my love and devotion.
I pledge to you all that I am, and all that I will ever be.

By the Power vested in me, by the State of California, and the internet, I now pronounce you husband and wife.  You may kiss the bride.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I am incredibly honored to present to you, Mr. and Mrs. Maraia.

I am really looking forward to this evening.  It looks like the day is clearing up, and it should be so lovely on the boat.  I still need to hunt down a jacket that will be appropriate, since I have yet to see a formal hoodie...  The rehersal went so well, I'm sure this evening is going to be so special and romantic, and wonderful.  So, Good Luck Jake, and Best Wishes Brandon and Sandy!!!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Miracle on Buaro Street?

Hey guess what?  My computer came back to life today.  I don't know how, but I am not going to question it.  I will look at it as a gift from the universe, and just be happy.  

Okay, so I have slipped up with my eating.  When my computer died, I quite effectively lost my internet support, and I had a crisis involving fears of becoming a zealot and being too preachy.  So, I lost my way.  But, I am striving to get back into the swing again, and plan out my eating instead of waiting until I'm too hungry to make good choices.  I know in my head that I was happy, but I am really struggling now.  I think I just need to talk it out, because the pro list is soooo long, and the con list is just a list of excuses to be lazy.  Eh.

I bug Jake all the time about watching his language around Mimsey.  He's more careful around her, but I was so annoyed when from the backseat yesterday she shouted "Oh crap!"  Now, this was mostly annoying because that is not a phrase that he uses.  It's one that I use.  Errrrgh.  So, I've got to watch what I say, and he gets to laugh at me.  Oh, who knew that it was so annoying to teach a kid to talk.  She's so cute, but she has a little lisp, so today she was trying to get out of a "time out" and was crying "Sawee Mama, sawee Mama."  Broke my heart.  
I hate time out.

Friday, March 13, 2009

March Girls know how to Party!

Tonight we had our March girls family birthday party, so I got to celebrate a little early!  Overall I scored an awesome load of presents, and am so happy that it's all stuff I really wanted!  Yay!

I am so proud of myself I have to blog about it.  I am on Day 6 of a new adventure.  I am experimenting with a vegan raw food diet, and so far I love, Love, LOVE what is happening with my body.  I have dropped 12 (!) pounds, and I feel better than I have for years.  Much better than I did as a cheesatarian (bad vegetarian, processed food junkie).  And I am happy.  Like, off the charts happy.  This is a big deal.  I am not, by nature, a happy person.  I am cynical, and depressed, and grudge holding.  And despite that, today I found myself thinking, as I dug into my avocado salsa salad, "wow, I'm really happy" which then sent me into a fit of chuckles, since that was the most 'un-Jaime' thing to think in the world.  So it's working for me!

Today my adventure led me to the new Mother's Market & Kitchen in Santa Ana.  Beautiful store filled with tons of yummy organic produce and lots of raw products to help me with my 'un-cooking'.  There were jars of Raw Coconut Butter sitting next to the Raw Cashew Butter, and both of them looked so yummy and decadent that I had to buy them!  I don't know what to expect from the coconut butter, but I am thinking it will be muy delicioso!  I am 'trying out' some raw books, thanks to our library system, and the more information that I get, the more committed that I am to continuing this lifestyle, in the face of all of my family members gathering and eating chicken strips and coleslaw from KFC... I broke down and had a bite of my birthday cake, (my fave! Lemon Cake!!!) so I'm feeling a little guilty.  But hey, once a year, one single bite... I'm gonna let myself off the hook now.

Now I'm gonna go look for some tasty thing that I can find to make, so that I can use my new food dehydrator!!!  Thanks Mom and Dad!!  You can try my crazy flax-seed bread, or goddess chips (made with dehydrated kale).  Oh, don't make that face, maybe you will like them?

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Go With the Flow Merit Badge

Life is crazy! You never know what you're gonna be facing. Sometimes it awesome. Sometimes not so much. This is the Go With the Flow Merit Badge, which I earned because of my great ability, okay, struggling ability to roll with it when things don't go my way. I live in a multi-generational household, and while my grandma and I don't always see eye to eye, we wouldn't have been able to live with each other for so long (almost 10 years since her stroke! Yay Mema!) without both of our abilities to roll with the punches and go with the flow. Awww. I should make her one as well. :D

If you want to earn your own Merit Badge:

Go with the flow, baby! When live hands you lemons, make a bad-ass lemon cake! Write me a comment about what you did to go with the flow, and then go make your badge. (I knew you could do it!!)

As for the tutorial about how to make these, ah, perhaps this is how you will have to go with the flow. I find that I am not one of those people who is gifted at writing tutorials, but I will tell you that I use olive felt (100% post consumer recycled water bottles transformed into crafty fun!) for the background, and green embroidery floss (DMC 700) for the outer whip stitch. The rest I wing. I think that the pictures are very close so that you should be able to see pretty clearly what I've done. I don't keep track (usually) of embroidery floss colors, so I can't tell you what colors I used. I don't use wool felt, it's all acrylic. Ummmm, if I am overwhelmed with requests I will draw out patterns and post them, but at this point I am talking to myself, so I'm not gonna go to the effort... LOL!!!
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The Rise and Shine Merit Badge

This morning sucked. I really dislike daylight savings and the clock turning that it involves. Ugh. And, for whatever reason, Mimsey woke up super early this morning. So, at least it was an hour "later" than it would have been yesterday, but still, it was too early to me. Neither Jake or I wanted to get up, but he worked late last night, and I didn't, so I gave him a break, and got up with the kid. On my way downstairs, he hollered at me that I was earning a Rise and Shine Merit Badge. It made me laugh, and I didn't mind getting up so much. I ended up making morning smoothies for Mims, Mema and me. (Watermelon and Banana - yum!)

It occured to me later, that a Merit Badge would be an excellent motivator to get your friends to help you move, or to get up early to stand in line for concert tickets (ooh, does that show my age? That's all done online now, isn't it? :blushing in embarrassment:). I do think that it would be so much fun to tuck into a card, or to attach to a gift, as a fun way to show your appreciation for a job above and beyond.

If you would like to earn this badge:
Get up early and do something nice for someone else. Write me a comment to tell me what you did. Make your badge!
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Nintendo Thumb Merit Badge

This is my Nintendo Thumb Merit Badge. I got this badge for my hours upon hours of gaming on the NES. I loved Super Mario Bros. I sucked at Duck Hunt... So, this is my Merit Badge. Mostly I just really wanted it. And it looks cool.

If you want to earn one of your own:
Remember the excitement of your youth. The awesome 8 bit graphics. The days before hi-def digital super computer gaming systems.
Write me a comment and tell me about the game you rocked. And then make one for yourself. (and add it to the flickr group!)
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Got Over It Merit Badge

This is my Got Over It Merit Badge. Recently there have been several family issues that are stressing me and Mr. Optimist out. Jake goes with the flow. I hold a grudge. When we were talking about the issue, Jake suggested that if I got over it I could make myself a merit badge. That was enough motivation for me... Ahahahaha!!!

If you want to earn this badge yourself:
Challenge yourself to get over some very painful/anger inciting event that you just can't let go of... Let it go. Listen to Eckhart Tolle. Write me a comment so I can celebrate with you. Make yourself the badge. (I'm proud of you!)
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Friday, March 6, 2009

Read the Comic Before the Movie Merit Badge (Watchmen Edition)

This is my Read the Comic Before the Movie Merit Badge (Watchmen Edition), aka The Watchmen Merit Badge.
I earned this badge by reading the comic (several times! - ah, I'm a geek) before the movie came out. Okay, yeeeears before the movie came out, but still, I read it last week too... LOL!!! To me, us comic geeks don't have enough finery to show our awesome coolness to the world, so I neeeeeded this... Plus, I thought it was a cool/geeky comic craft...

If you want to earn your own badge:
Read the Comic! It's totally worth it. When you're done, you can leave me a comment about what you thought about it. That's all it takes to earn this badge. Then you can make your own awesome The Watchmen Merit Badge.

I will post a tutorial this weekend on how to make your own!
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Bringing an Idea to Fruition Merit Badge

Here is my first Crafty Merit Badge! It's about an inch or so across (I used the top of a vitamin bottle for the circle) and I love the homemade-ey-ness of it. This is my badge for Bringing an Idea to Fruition. I earned this badge by actually finishing my badge, and posting about it. I plan to make a cover for my laptop, and sew my badges on to it.

If you want to earn your own badge:

Think of something that you loved from your past, and create a version that will support the person that you are now!
Leave me a comment about it, and maybe a picture of your project (if appropriate), or a link to your blog about your project.
I will post a very small tutorial about how to make my badge this weekend, so you can make your own when you've earned it!!

I think I'm also going to start a flickr pool for merit badges so that we can all see your awesome completed badge!
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Thursday, March 5, 2009

Merit Badges

My littlest cousin is a Brownie.  A very accomplished mini-scout with a vest full of badges to show for it.  Last weekend, at Mimsey's birthday party, she brought along some boxes of cookies, which everyone went crazy for!  I haven't seen a scramble for cash like that since the time that Jake and I got stuck on a toll road and had to scrounge quarters out of the floorboards of the old Sprint (or was it the Geo?).   Sandy and I both marveled over her vest, since we too were once bedecked with the scouting jewels of accomplishment.  The hours of time invested in learning new skills, worth it for the awesome badge of honor we wore proudly.  We were the only ones in our troop with full sashes.  I asked my mom about that recently, because I just thought it was because she was troop leader and wanted her kids to set a good example.  She said nope, she thought it was cool that her girls had the most badges!  I laughed for days about that.
I miss merit badges.  I want something to show off my mad movie quoting skillz, or my advanced pizza making skillz, or my ability to complete sewing, knitting, and crochet projects these days without crying (even once!!!).  How about a badge for throwing a kick-ass party?

I found some awesome Nerd Merit Badges at this site.  There are two so far, but it looks like they have plans for more.  Not my dream badges, but good for my Nerdy-Cool brother-in-law.
I have looked at this book a number of times.  I really want to like it.  I want to find it awesome, and just what I wanted, but it's all of the work of "earning the badge" and aside from the actual skill learned, it's sort of anti-climactic.  And it looks like hard work.  And I don't want to learn those skills... I admire the idea.  But it's not crafty/creative enough for me.

That leaves me with one option.  I will have to create my own.  Perhaps that will be the first merit badge: Seeing an Idea through to Fruition...  Hmmm...  

I will think about this for a while, and let you know what I come up with...

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Evil Cookies!

Savor the Thyme and Tangled Noodle are running this awesome contest/roundup  called Eating Your Words, and is a challenge to create words written in food and/or drink...  I just couldn't waste an opportunity to play with cookie dough, so this is my entry into their roundup...

Behold, the Evil Cookies!!!

They are evil because they are so tasty. 

Mimsey and I made them this morning (she watched, ate raw dough, and poked her fingers in the completed letters, and I tried really hard not to nick her with the knife when she reached in front of me... Argh!!!!!), and I frosted them with leftover frosting from her birthday cake.  The elephant just showed up this morning, Mimsey found it in the back of a closet I think, and it was too cute to not include...  

If you would like to enter your own creation, you can find out more here!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Latest Project

One of my back teeth has been bothering me.  I keep getting stuff caught back there when I eat, so I've taken to carrying around floss picks with me.  I know, so gross, way too much information.  I've been carrying them in my first aid kit, but I saw the cutest project bags on a blog that I now can't find, and wanted one soooo bad, so I decided to make a miniature one to carry my floss, a travel toothbrush, and some toothpaste in my purse.  And because I loooove Doodle Embroidery, I had to decorate it...  It's a simple little lined pouch with a stretchy loop and button, but oh, it makes me so happy...

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Mimsey is TWO!! and i'm tired...

My Mimsey is crazy.  Her current favorite toy, and I use that in the very loosest definition possible, is a rock she found outside about 2 weeks ago.  She calls it Baby Rock, and she feeds it, gives it baths, and puts her socks on it to keep it warm... when it's not snuggling in her pocket.

Today as we were getting ready for her birthday party, she insisted that we had to dress up Baby Rock as well.  At least you can see her adorable skirt that I made.  I based it, roughly, on Anna Maria Horner's Bo Peep Skirt, but alas, as I have not yet been given her book (hint, hint, husband) I had to just sort of wing it from a picture.  I like it, it would be cute a little fuller, but it matched the party decorations.  And her rock...

This is Mimsey's princess cake.  I made it in the Williams-Sonoma Great Pumpkin cake pan, and made the wheels out of pink melting chocolate that I poured into jumbo muffin tin cups.  It was the hit of the party (besides Mims!), but what can I say, my family is easily impressed.  Honestly, I will just be happy if I don't see it on Cake Wrecks...  isn't that sad?!  :D

She got some awesome gifts from her grandparents, Aunties, Uncles, and Cousins, so she spent the rest of the day busy with her toys.  And I re-discovered my love of the Smurfs (thanks Auntie Nandy and Uncle Doob!)...  Oh yeah, and the balloons are all still up and look great!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Cute Alligator Hair Clippie Tutorial

Amy over at Angry Chicken has a great tutorial on felt barrette covers that completely inspired me to make some for Mimsey's birthday. I picked up some great 100% recycled plastic felt (awesome!!) and set about making some barrettes. Very quickly I discovered that I am not nearly as awesome as Amy is, and my barrette sleeping bags sucked pretty hard. Something about sewing from the bottom and (eek) following the line, just confused the heck out of me. So, I started cutting out the felt slightly larger than the barrette, sewing it onto the felt with a miniscule seam allowance. Suddenly the sleeping bags were looking pretty great! I trimmed them up, and VIOLA! Mimsey loved her barrette!
Then I started getting fancy. I started mixing up the colors and sewing two different colors together. (I know, I'm living on the edge...) At first I was just trimming the bottom color a little larger than the top to make a border, but then I pulled out the pinking shears and got really crazy. Suddenly I had a pack of google eyes in my hand and the spark of the tutorial that I am now going to unleash upon the world...

The Alligator Hair Clip Tutorial
(wild applause!)
Step 1

Cut out the top color for your barrette. Cut it just slightly larger than the hair clip, but leave plenty on the back end (you'll trim it up later).
Step 2

Sew top color to the white felt. Use a very tiny seam allowance. Leave a gap between barrette tops.

Step 3

Slide the barrette into the little pocket you've made. It will make the next step much easier.

Step 4

Using pinking shears, trim the bottom color (white) around the edge of the barrette top. Try to line up the "valley" of the scissors with the edge of the top color, because it looks cuter.

Step 5
Using the back of the barrette as a guide, trim up the back end of the top color of the barrette. Go ahead and trim up any loose threads as well and glue on google eyes! Crikey, you've got alligators!!!!
Okay, I have to be honest. It's not your monitor. The top alligator with the pink eyes does have pink teeth. I thought it was cute.

Need a break? Buy balloons!

For Valentine's Day, Jake and I got Mimsey a Dora the Explorer mylar balloon.  We picked it up when we were grocery shopping about a week before Valentine's day, because the store had a whole aisle filled with balloons and Mims just went crazy for them.  I probably walked up and down that aisle 10 times before we could leave.  Anyway, the thing is still floating.  It looks brand new.  Mims is still crazy for it.  

So today we were beginning preparations for her party, and since she loved her Dora balloon, I went to the Dollar Tree and got her 10 more balloons.  It sounds so silly, but she literally spent 2 hours playing with them.  She ran around the house with them.  She took them one by one into the kitchen, and then she came in to get me to show me that they were in the kitchen.  Then she wanted to dance in the kitchen, because the curling ribbon hanging from the balloons looked like a party.  So we danced.  

Best present ever!!  (and she's enjoying them too!)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Black Beans, a recipe

Just one last quick post for the day.  I have to share my new favorite food.  I came up with this recipe out of sheer panic when I realized that I was having dinner guests, and didn't think I'd have enough food...  But, ahhh I struck culinary gold!!!  Yummy black beans, which work as a side dish, or even better serve them with chips for fake nacho bean dip goodness.  And black beans and tomatoes are sooo good for you, the tiny bit of cheese won't hurt...  

Emergency Black Beans
1 can (15 oz) black beans
1 can (15 oz) of diced tomatoes
1/2 tsp dark chili powder 
1/2 tsp Lawry's Seasoning Salt
1 tsp granulated onion
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 cup shredded mexican blend cheese

Drain black beans and tomatoes.  Add to frying pan over medium heat.  Stir, smashing beans as you go to kind of thicken up the mixture.  Add spices and keep smooshing.  When the bean/tomato mixture is hot, stir in the cheese, smooshing beans until the cheese is melted in and the whole mixture is a cohesive mass.  Serve hot, preferably with tortilla chips!!  

Baby Cthulhu lives!!!!  I know, he's kinda awkward, what with one of his tentacles growing so fast, but the others will catch up in a month or two.  His little clawed feet are still soft.  It takes time for the hard, sharp claws to grow in.  The poor little god is pretty helpless right now...  But he'll grow up to be a big tough guy in the future.

I deviated a little from the tutorial, since I started with a slightly larger crochet hook, and then had to adjust everything so it would look right.  LOL!!!  And I wanted the crazy tentacles with the sucker pads, so those are different too.  But the tutorial was great, and didn't take very long, which I have to say was the best part, since I'm an "instant gratification" kinda gal.  

Best part of it:  Jake absolutely loves it!!!!  Hooray!!!!  We will probably give it to Mims to play with, but he knows it's his...

Notice the fancy wings?!  Yep, he can fly...

Thank you again Amber at Cthulhu Crochet for the amazing tutorial!!!

I have had a marvelous weekend.  I know, it's super duper early Tuesday morning, but that's how we roll around here.  Okay, so really it's because Jake has Sun-Mon off, so that's when we celebrate the end of our week.  Tuesdays suck in our world, so it's not all lazy Mondays... 
This is Mimsey's house that I've been working on.  It still needs buttons, but I am very happy with it.  I think she will like it.  She's seen it several times, but she thinks it's mine and calls it Mommy's house.  Oh, my poor little one is going to grow up so confused...  

I had thought that I would make the inside all cutesy too, but honestly, it was tricky figuring out which fabrics went where, and I ended up with an all blue interior.  Oh well, next time will be crazy fun on the inside too.  Still, I want to keep it, so I think that's a good sign... Thank you UK Lass for such an awesome project...

I found a couple of other awesome projects here at Cthulhu Crochet.  I am finishing up a Tiny Cthulhu for Jake, who has requested claw feet on his, and I think I'm going to make a Nibbler for Mimsey.  She won't know who he is (yet) but he's so cute, and it will make me and the Mr. laugh.
Baby Cthulhu is almost done, just a tiny bit left, so more pictures are on their way.  In the meantime...

Gratuitous pic of cute kid... Who will be TWO in 3 days!!!  

Friday, February 20, 2009

I have had a very productive couple of days.  Grocery shopping, check.  Supplies for Mimsey's party favors, check.  File income taxes, check.  Trip to Costco (which is always an event!), check.  Whew!  Can you believe that I found time to work on some projects?!  :D

I have been working on a present for Mimsey's birthday.  I'm making her a little portable dollhouse from the tutorial that I found here.  It's super fun, and challenging in a good way.  I looked through the flickr group to see what everyone else has done with their doll houses, and I was completely inspired.  It's almost ready to go now.  I just need some buttons, and I'll be set.  I can't wait to make another one!  The one I made is about the size of a happy meal box, so I totally want to make one for a lunchbox! Mine is pink, and I'll post pictures as soon as I can.

Yay for paper toys!  My new obsession!  I have completed the treasure chest from the balance game at Creative Park, and I am going to work on the pirates for it tonight.  Sooo cute, and it's turning out just like the picture, which completely surprised me.  I honestly had expected it to turn out kinda crummy, since I am not a paper toy designer/expert.  But it's fun and in my price range.   

The paper toy penguin from Zooguu by sweetest pea is another matter all together.  Its super cute, but did not turn out quite as good as the picture.  I'm gonna try it again before I post my final opinion...  

One last thing.  My dear, sweet Mom-in-law is having a friend visit in 10 days or so.  So I'm posting pictures of our houses, so that she'll know that there is a place for her to stay, and hopefully to reassure her family...  LOL!!! Hey Tipi!  Can't wait to meet you in person!
(The yellow house is Deb's and the white house is where Jake and I live)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

2 old dogs, only 1 new trick

What is it with my dog?! She has become so bold lately, stealing food from Mimsey's hands, and she chowed down on a ziplocked bag of M&M's that were sealed in my craft bag (slobbering all over the contents of the bag as well). This is the 2nd time that she's done this (getting into my stash, she takes Mim's food all the time, although to be fair, solidly 70% of the time Mim's offers it first...) I don't know what I'm gonna do with her. Ugh. Why do old dogs learn new tricks? I thought that she was pretty well trained...

Bummer of a night, because besides the great m&m caper, my big old clunky desktop doesn't want to load a new version of adobe acrobat reader to keep up with my new love of paper toys. Sooo, I've got to figure out a way to either hook up my netbook to the printer, or get the program to install on the desktop. Which means that I did not get the chance to print out and put together the cute toys that I wanted to show you. And the internet in my room is shoddy tonight. Whine, whine, whine....

But at least with all of my free time I was able to get my income tax forms started. I'm going to attempt to e-file this year, but I wanted to get them all ready to go before I tried to computerize them... lol! The Magic 8 Ball says a refund may be in our future, but if there is, it will all go to car repairs... awww, suck.

Does anyone else hate being a grown-up too?!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Creative Park

Thank goodness Valentine's Day is over.  I almost finished Jake's present, which I will show you when I do actually finish, but he seemed to like the idea of what it was going to be.  I am so lucky to have married someone who appreciates the time and effort that goes into creating a homemade gift.  I got a packet of Reeses Peanut Butter Cups and a Craft! magazine.  Which was exactly what I wanted, but I was so annoyed to find that they had published birthday flags in the magazine.  Ugh, so similar, down to the cupcakes on the front.  Jake assures me that mine kick the other flag's booty.  Mine do hang nicer, and are way cuter.  So there.  

Okay, so back to what I was saying.  Now that I've got Valentine's Day out of the way, I can focus full time on Mimsey's birthday party!  Yay!!  Okay, not full time, but an hour at night at least...  So I was looking for something different, that I hadn't seen before, and I found this!  It is Creative Park, and it's the coolest site ever if you're looking for something fun and crafty to do.  The whole site is full of free (FREE!!!) paper toys, gift boxes, frames, scrapbook pages, cool little funky projects and all of it is free!!!  (Did I mention that it's cool and free?!)  I have yet to print anything out and try it, but it's on my list for tomorrow.  When I do, I will shoot some pictures and report back on how hard/easy the projects were.  I especially love the fun little picture frames, and the craft cards!  I am never buying another $5 birthday card again!!! 

Late Start

Howdy!  The weather here in sunny So. Cal. is still gloomy, and raining in spurts.  Mimsey is being a champ, as is Jake, but I am being petulant and unreasonable.  I used to love the rain.  Now, I just hate mud.  So, to pull myself out of this cold weather funk, I have made myself a new purse.  It's bright and shiny, and eco-friendly!

I know, those Capri Sun purses are sooo 5 years ago, but I don't care!  Recycling never has a stop date, and by golly, the packages were free with the cost of the juice inside.  The cost was just perfect for my current depression budget. I found some great tutorials on ThriftyFun.com and am planning on making some lunch bags and pencil pouches next.  And, Capri Sun is now teaming up with TerraCycle and doing a whole recycling program for their pouches if you're not crafty, and want to raise money for your school, church, scout troop, etc.  And you can get ready made tote bags, and other stuff on their website.  Neat!!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Welcome to my brain!!

I have never been good about keeping a journal.  I know, I know, I’m verbose, wordy, and could chat your ear off in person, but I’m no good at talking to myself.  At least not on a consistant, neatly filled books of musings sort of way.  So, please forgive me if my whim of “blogging” (ugh, does that term gross anyone else out too?! ) comes and goes in spurts.  I hope that I will have interesting things to say that will bring you back, but at this point, it’s all speculation.  In the meantime, I am getting ready for Mimsey’s  big Oh-Two birthday (that’s 2 for you normal folks) and while I still have to get through Valentine’s day, I couldn’t help myself, and I whipped these up for decorations.  My birthday’s 2 weeks after Mimsey’s, so I get to leave them up for the next month.  Yippee!!  Yum, cupcakes… 

Anyhow, they were super simple to make.  I bought some cotton fabric in 6 different colors (You could get by easily with just 1 or 2 colors, it would still be cute) and some medium weight fusible interfacing.  I just followed the directions to fuse the interfacing onto the fabric, and then cut out my triangles.  I used the scraps to make the little cupcake appliqué pieces.  I stitched the cupcake pieces on with a zigzag, and then sewed two triangles together, right sides out, leaving ½ inch allowance for trimming.  I pinked the two long edges of the triangle, to straighten them, and make them cute.  Then I took a package (3 yards) of ½ inch bias tape and sewed the flags in, using the packaging creases as a way to keep the flags spaced evenly.  I think all together, my 2 sets of flags took me about 3 hours, including cupcake appliqué time.  Easy peasy, and they look so festive, Mimsey carried one set around for about 20 minutes, showing off “her flags” to anyone who would listen, which was mostly our dog, Kelsey.  I still have enough fabric to make another set, which would look good across the archway to the dining room.  I will have to take pictures of the process, so that I can post a proper tutorial for these. 

I hope that we’re done with the rain soon.  I hate being cooped up in the house all day, but it does give me a good excuse to dress Mims in this when we go out.  

Awww.  She’s cute.