Monday, December 22, 2008
After seeing the felt breakfast, a good friend mentioned how awesome it would be if I made doughnuts. Yes, it would be awesome. But a third dimension? Can't do it.
But the story she told was so funny and great that it was like a challenge I couldn't pass up. I had to make doughnuts for her kids. So I looked at some doughnuts online and figured out a pattern and went to work. The first one,...not so good. The hole in the middle was too big and it just looked kinda odd.
But I finally figured it out. And I was so excited, I drove over to my friend's house forced her into a playgroup just so I could give them to her.
So, friend, thanks for the challenge! And the playgroup! Next time we meet, though, I hope there are less kids and more booze.
Friday, December 19, 2008
My mother lives near an amazing fabric store. And nothing else. Okay, the ocean, too, which is pretty awesome. And she has quite an addiction. To fabric. Which she passed on to me.
Yesterday, I received a box in the mail full of presents for the kids, (unwrapped, thanks mom!), and some fabric.
My mother told me to call her when I got it, to tell her I liked it. It was selected from the Courtney color palette that lives in my mother's head. I pulled the fabric out and thought, "She's mad!"
There were two fabrics and one was brown with flowers and the other was green with swirls. Neither of which was particularly "me."
She called and we chatted and I told her I liked it. It's pretty, I just didn't see what was so "Courtney style" about it.
Then, later, I showed my husband and I realized there was more fabric folded inside. TEN fabrics!
And together they look awesome! I totally see me in there!
So now I need to call my mom and tell her that
a. I'm a dork and b. she's awesome
And? If anyone wants to tell me what I should do with all this, I'd love to hear it!!
Quilts, no. We have too many over here. But what else?
P.S. One time, I taught Hartwell that my mom's name was Grandma Cuckoo. It was pretty funny.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
We've always thought that it would only help our kids if they have some musical knowledge. (And I have no problem forcing my boys into a band). We have a couple of guitars in the basement and Hartwell knows how to turn on the amp and get the music goin'. And when we visit Aunt Ninny, the boys attack the piano with such force that I always wished we had one. While simultaneously thanking the gods that we don't.
And then, the universe gave us one. An amazing friend needed to find a home for her piano and asked if we'd like to have it. We were so happy! Music everywhere!
It arrived yesterday and Hartwell sat sweetly at the keys and asked if he could play it. I thought,"Awww,...I can handle this!" Turns out it was a one time thing. Now there's nary a pause before "BANG! BANG! BANG!" But we love it. And I'm learning that multitasking in the presence of obnoxious piano banging can be done.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
I made my neighbor come over and smell my house. Like a first impression smell before the playgroup came over. (I have the best neighbor ever). Unanimously dog. Stinky, stinky basset hound.
All this cereal covered stinkiness makes me long for a time before children and before sweeping the floor took three trips to the trash can. And I came upon this photo. I love it. It's like how my living room was supposed to look before I was storing toys in every crevice. And when we used the fireplace. Even with candles. Now there's a furni pad crammed up in the chimney because it has no damper. But we used to buy firewood! And had a fireplace accessory set! Nowadays I would be biding my time before I was hit upside the head with a dirty broom. And can you imagine the face of the kid who discovers the bellows?!
Anyway, I guess what I'm trying to say is that I had a white couch. White. Now I have a dark brown, ultra-suede arch nemesis. And there's no going back.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
I made more snowmen! They seem to be popular. I really like them a lot, but my love for things hardly translates to the universe's love of things. So I was pleasantly surprised. Which is the best kind.
I included a picture of a snowman before he gets poked full of sweater leavin's. (Spell check never watched Married with Children in the '80s, I guess).
It starts with a snowman shaped sweater piece and the squiggly yarn is poked through with a special needle. Permanently adhering it to the sweater. Then, I use that pile of colorful yarn to make the details. I don't waste anything. You can even see the orange yarn that becomes the nose.
I really hope I end up with one of my own. I don't have hardly any homemade ornaments on my tree.
On a completely different train of thought, I waxed my own eyebrows today. So if you see me, please don't mention that my stage right brow is a little off. I mean, they're blonde, but still.
Maybe I can get this lady to make me some emergency brows.
Saturday, December 6, 2008
Friday, December 5, 2008
Why, with the three million that I won on this Lucky Lotto ticket, I can take this $2500 and just blow it all on hats.
Something that's always bugged me about winter in L.A. is the weird hipster winter wardrobe. It'll be 70 degrees outside and there will inevitably be some woman with a trendy earflap hat and Ugg boots at the Whole Foods. It's not even cold! I guess they just make the seasons up as they go since we don't really have them. But I would appreciate a bit more judgment. Like, wait 'til it's 65 degrees or something.
That being said, the boys discovered their winter hats today and since they were so taken by how cute they looked, we went outside for a photo shoot.
Oooh! Maybe that why the hipsters do it! They love how they look!
And maybe I'm just annoyed because when I wear a hat, I look like I'm bald. Because my hair matches my skin. So I never get the cool hats. I just load up on scarves. And then buy hats for the boys.
Monday, December 1, 2008
I did it! I am finally an etsian! Not like the shopping kind. Like the selling kind. It's very exciting! I was finally able to get some stuff finished. I always have stuff that's almost finished that sits and stares at me and makes me feel bad. Which, not cool, crafts!
So here are some of the lovely things I threw together while waiting for Etsy to upload my scarf photos. It's very time consuming. And you have to come up with prices and shipping? I am not good about knowing my product worth. I always think, "How much would I pay?" But I'm a cheap bastard, so that never works.
(I am definitely laying off the coffee today. I am on full speed. And I still have to go to Starbucks. The obvious thing to do would be to order decaf. But when I'm there? With two wild babies? I think, "I'm gonna need more caffeine.")
So. The above items are basically made of sweaters I recycled and felted in the washing machine. Then needle felted with wool yarn to make the accents. And the mittens were finished with the blanket stitch. Needle Felting is amazing because it is so instantly gratifying. I think of something, poke it with a needle and TA-DA! Christmas tree!
I also included a picture of my sleeping baby. It was too hilarious to leave in my camera.
Monday, November 17, 2008
I have this thing where I think my kids' lunch needs too be hot. Lots of leftovers and microwave stuff. Oh! and corn dogs and tater tots. I like to believe it's because I spent my formative years in Germany, but it's probably not that.
The boys aren't fond of ham and cheese sandwiches and I get all mental at the thought of finding peanut butter and jelly in my nightstand drawer.
I thought about grilled cheese today, but the bread is too thick for the little one so he'll just take a bite, get only bread and leave it on the table. Then eat loose cheerios off the floor.
So, roux, milk, cheese and pasta. I think they liked it, mostly. The younger judge ate his whole bowl, but the older judge told me, "Too hot!" and left it there. It had cooled for about 30 minutes and was leaning more toward ice cold than too hot. Maybe he didn't want to hurt my feelings. That'll be the day.
The other picture is of the leftover pasta. I read somewhere that you can freeze it in a muffin tin, pop them in a bag and you get portioned pasta that cooks in half the time. Just saute it with a little water and add sauce.
The older judge just informed me he wants a snack. "How about mac and cheese?"
"No! I want snaaaack!"
So much for giving kids a sophisticated palate. I'm pretty sure he's anglin' for cheese puffs. Or "cheese pups."
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Now that I can sew whatever I want and run my machine into the ground I thought I'd try shoes. Or slippers. Martha Stewart slippers. I started with a pair for myself and made every mistake possible. First, I was using felted sweaters I bought from thrift stores which have more stretch than felt. (The sole is a wool jacket with hardly any stretch). So the pattern for size 8-1/2 was a bit too big. I tried to adjust them and ended up with slippers that aren't exactly the same shape. At least the stripes matched.
I tried again. This time I used a smaller pattern and it seemed to have worked. I just have to wait for my husband to come home and try them on.
Also the pattern is supposed to have the seams facing out. And usually I like a more modern look, but I think they look better inside out.
I wish I had something funny to say. But I hurt my butt. And apparently that's where I store my comedy. Let's just say I'm very funny.
I made a bag for a friend and had this one next in line when the timing on the machine went bananas.
I was really excited about this one, too! The embroidery is from a pillow case my grandma left me when she passed away. And I found the rosey fabric to match. And to balance the shabby chic: green zebra.
It's for my sister. A girly girl who could use some extra girly in her life right now.
Hope you like it, panna panna!
Thursday, October 16, 2008
I had to take my sewing machine in to get it fixed. So I took both kids down the street to the repair place and parked out front. I now had to get both boys and my sewing machine inside the store at the same time. I was suddenly in the middle of a logic puzzle. I'm a farmer and I have to get a chicken, fox and chicken feed across a lake. But the boat can only hold two at a time. So I carried the chicken and feed and left the fox unbuckled in the car with instructions to hop out and push the button to close the door. When stuff like that happens, stuff like trying to run errands with two babies, I start to feel overwhelmed and worry that I'm not living each moment, but trying to get to the next one.
So I decided that I needed to learn how to bake bread. I've always been scared of yeast. It's alive? Eats sugar? So I skip right over recipes with rising times. But now I'm kneading and proofing and baking. I started with some recipes from King Arthur Flour. And even went to a gourmet store for instant yeast. Which changed the game. My first two loaves didn't rise enough. But we're delicious, if not a little dense.
This time I started a loaf, which required me to soak oatmeal in boiling water and wait for it to cool. And, I fell asleep. So I had to re-lukewarm it.
It's keeping me on my toes, this bread thing. It won't let me lolly gag. Or be a flibbertigibbet.
And hopefully it will help me slow down. Although, I think all the carbs will do that for me.
Monday, October 6, 2008
I was looking for play food for the boys and realized a few things. The plastic stuff is ugly, with bad colors, the wooden stuff is awesome but leaves a mark and the felt food is expensive. Unless you make it yourself. I found some nice sets, a lot of them were gender specific, heavy on the bow and what not, and they cost more than I was willing to pay for food that will probably end up in the dirt. So, I bought a ton of play felt for $6 and went to work.
I think it turned out okay, except that there weren't enough colors to get a noticeable difference between the whole wheat bread and the peanut butter. I was hoping for a folk art yellow, but only found glitter felt.
I took these pictures right before handing them over to the boys. My three days of research, pattern design and construction needed to be recorded before the inevitable.
It took about five minutes before I found one of the eggs in the dog water.
Monday, September 29, 2008
I had this brilliant idea in my head of the perfect homemade pillow for my sister's new house. It took me forever to get everything together. The front was fabric from the remnant bin, the back a sweater from the thrift store that I felted...sorta. I had to work up the courage to cut out the muffin shapes and then trust my handwriting enough to embroider it. Then I had to go all the way to downtown LA to get the trim.
After I finally got it together and sewed the stinkin' trim in place, I had to wait to mail it. And since it was a surprise, I couldn't tell my sister any of this. My sister to whom I speak every day.
This morning we were chatting, (I mailed the package on Wednesday and was wondering if she had received it yet), as she browsed Etsy. She found something she liked and emailed it to me. It was a frickin' art piece of three muffins with the word "Muffins" decoupaged underneath it.
I was so close.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
I accidentally made the handles too long, so I had to do a funny quick-fix. But otherwise it's cute and pink. Grace's favorites!
Friday, September 19, 2008
So I decided to make the boys bags to take with them when we go somewhere. I plan on filling them with these crayon holders and a small note book and other little toys for restaurants and stuff.
After spending a good hour trying to find "boy" fabric, I settled on the octopus and seahorse, from Heather Ross. I was even in downtown LA at Michael Levine! Who knew it would be so hard?
Anyway, Hartwell loved it, he likes it when you put it on his shoulder. Unfortunately, he called it a purse. In front of his father. Who replied, "Can we call it a tote?"
I think tote is worse.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
I'd like to introduce my arch nemesis. My sofa. I wish it were as simple as, "Whenever I watch Ratatouille, she tries to kill me," but she is much more subtle than that.
She was a gift from my parents before Thanksgiving. My mom and dad were coming to help me get ready for the baby and needed a place to sleep, so she offered to buy me a sleeper sofa. The only problem was, I had three weeks to find something. Most places could give you a sleeper sofa if you had six weeks. The one I found was ready in a week and a half. What a deal!
But, alas, she is a fickle mistress. When you sit on the sofa and stand up again, you don't get that bouncy push. She tries to pull you back down. And since it's a sleeper sofa, it has that giant metal hardware under the cushions. If left alone the cushions get lodged into the cracks and it's even harder to stand up. So I folded a bunch of comforters and quilts and blankets and pillows and placed them between the hardware and the foam. It's much more comfortable, but if no one is sitting on it, she looks like she just ate a quilt. "Mmmm,..log cabin."
She is supposed to be a sofa/chaise combo which I thought would help with the problem I have of Barkley thinking the sofa is his and we need to sit on the floor. But no one can sit in the corner seat, so it ends up seating three anyway. Or two and a basset hound. So I turned it back into a regular sofa and we use the chaise part as a climbing structure.
What I need to do is create a vision board full of ideal sofas. And stop talking about her. She could hear me and get really angry. And I wouldn't like her when she's angry.
One of my MOMS friends offered up an amazing tip to getting kids to eat vegetables. We were discussing Souplantation and how I think it's the perfect restaurant to take the kids. No waiting for food! Lots of variety! Soups full of squishy vegetables! Bread! Pizza! And their breakfast is awesome, too. No squirmy wait time watching my kids check the functionality of the salt shakers and eat napkins.
She had this idea of putting vegetables in the little salad dressing cups to make them seem more exciting. It totally worked! (I waited until Bee was over his need to dump out the contents and just eat the cup, which is a new thing). Both kids loved the colorful beans and veggies in the cups. I think Bee ate all of the peas. And my kids only eat vegetables if they're soaking in chicken broth.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Today we met Cousin Jessica for some dumplings. My mother went to a dumpling place when she was in Shanghai and found out they had a location in Arcadia. So we went to Din Tai Fung Dumplings. My Dumpling/Dim Sum rule is to eat beforehand so I don't end up wanting to vomit when the duck tongue passes by. But this morning I had to get a filling at the dentist and didn't want to eat before I went. Your mouth is open for days! I didn't want my breath to smell. Badly, I mean. It ends up smelling like drilled tooth anyway, so I don't know what I was worried about.
So, dumplings...The boys LOVED them. Loved. I've never seen those two eat so much. Unless it's mac and cheese. They ate the dumplings and the buns and the fried rice.
We are definitely going back. And there's soon to be a frozen yogurt place next door. That's one stop shopping.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
I finally finished this pillow. It's for Max. He had a birthday in July and I forgot his present when we flew to see Gramma. Since he has a freshly decorated bedroom, with sports and planets, I thought he would like this. Plus, according to his mother, he likes pillows.
It was sorta hard to make. The bottom didn't turn out as circular as I would have wanted and the wings are translucent enough to allow one to view the Nilla Wafer box used to stuff them.
I used this pattern and tutorial, and if I did it again I would leave a turn out space in the body of the ship and sew the bottom closed.
It was nice to see a project one can make for a boy. I wish there were more. But my boys play with rocks and sticks. And it's cheaper to just find those in the yard.
Thursday, September 4, 2008
I've taken to combing the thrift stores in search of VHS movies. It's actually quite hilarious. The movies for sale, I mean. I recently found super old Disney Videos. The graphics before the movie begins are awesome. And there's a message before Sleeping Beauty about how to adjust the tracking.
I also bought another Thomas video. If I have to watch Alec Baldwin eating carrots again, I'm gonna scream.
Most of the videos I've found are $2. I found the Thomas video at a consignment store for $3.50. Highway robbery! Especially since you can get Thomas DVDs for $6. But, supply and demand. I would've bought it if it was $5. And I think they know that.
Monday, September 1, 2008
I'm being profiled in our MOMS Club newsletter this month. Mostly because I'm friends with the profiler. And she was a little behind in her selection. So I filled out the questionnaire and then had to come up with a photo. John and I both take the pictures in the family, so one of us is always behind the camera. Therefore, no family photos. Now, I could go somewhere to have a professional take the picture, but my brother-in-law is a cinematographer. And I know he can take a good photo. So, why waste money on some picture with a lame blue background and fake fur seat? Here's what we came up with on a 10 second timer. That was after the second wardrobe change. I read somewhere that to make photos more spontaneous, you set the timer while the group is behind the camera and then run to your spot. We got pretty sweaty running back and forth all morning. And, thank Jesus that "dirty" does not show up on film. Both boys had dirt everywhere.
Friday, August 29, 2008
Another Sublime Stitching embroidery. This one from the Craft Pad. With all the coffee I've been drinking, I knocked this out in an hour.
I'm almost brave enough to start designing my own patterns. It's more difficult than it sounds. Simplicity is complicated.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
I used this recipe and agree completely with Jessica. Straining = pain in the bottom and cold brew = creamy coffee. And I also don't dilute, but mix the concentrate with nonfat milk and a packet of Stevia.
And I'm pretty much high all day. But my house isn't any cleaner.
Sunday, August 24, 2008
For his birthday I made Bee a Monkey Cake. But I made a few changes. I used a smaller bowl to make a mini-cake. I thought it would be cuter, not to mention easier. I also substituted cream cheese icing for the buttercream. Buttercream always tastes like I'm eating a spoonful of grease so I hardly ever use it. And I used brown M&Ms for the eyes instead of the licorice drops,(Really, Martha, licorice drops? An entirely different store for one item?). I also piped the mouth and nose for the same reason. Which,...scary as hell. I was sure I would mess it up and ruin my 2 days worth of work.
The most amazing part of the whole thing is that after working for two days on this cake, I actually let Bee attack it with both hands. Or just one.
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Today the whole family went to the car wash. With the car. To have it washed. As we were wrangling the kids and keeping them from "helping," my husband noticed this butterfly. Turns out it was stuck in a spider web. So before I did anything, I took some pictures. It was my chance to get an up close photo of a butterfly in captivity! But it was way too bright for me to even see if I got any good pictures. So I gave up and used a pine needle to scoot the butterfly out of the web. I was thinking he would take off and flutter around my head in a spectacular gesture of gratitude. He just kinda limped away.
And then I thought, what if some catastrophic event happens today and it's all my fault? I freed a butterfly and somewhere in Minsk a bridge collapses. Just what I need.
A friend of mine just had her second baby. And to celebrate, I made these baby blocks. The recipe was from this book. The only problem was, the recipe was really complicated. Then, two days ago I received an email from bhg.com with the very same blocks, but an easier recipe! Their assembly was much more simple.
They ended up being a lot puffier than I thought they'd be, even when I starched the fabric. And I added cat toys, which were a bell inside a plastic ball, inside two of the blocks. Now that I know how simple they are, I think I'll make more. But only for really nice people.
(Hey, A. Surprise!)
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
This is my week where I decided I wouldn't spend money on crap. Sometimes I go to Target in an effort to do anything other than sit at home and watch my kids destroy everything. And then I end up buying totally random things (Do I really need kitchen shears shaped like a bird?) So this week I decided, no spending any money on stuff. Like, we went to Amy's Playground, but I didn't buy the super cute animal flashcards she had for sale there.
I did spend $14 on video tapes at the Salvation Army. I really needed to have a TV that I can watch anything else on, so I put it in my bedroom and my husband is supposed to run the cable up there. In the meantime, I transferred my ancient
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Hartwell was fascinated with the snakes while they were in their terrariums. He stood right next to them and pointed at them and would NOT stop talking about snakes. Then the guy took one out and I asked, "Do you want to touch the snake?" "No. No touch 'nake." And he walked to the other end of the yard to avoid coming near them. After a few minutes and mama touching the snake, I finally got him to do it. I felt bad that maybe he was really scared and that I was forcing him to do something he didn't want to do. Turned out okay. Except that I had to touch a snake.
Monday, August 18, 2008
We had an interesting day. I was sitting on the couch embroidering a cowbell, (yes, a cowbell), listening to the restful sound of cascading water when I realized that it had been cascading for a while. I was wondering what my neighbor was doing when I looked out my window and saw water shooting out from crack in the asphalt in my driveway. It was running down my driveway, flooding our new backyard. I ran to get my neighbor and we used our random concrete pieces to try to divert the water from running into the garage. It barely worked. As soon as the water people arrived, they shut off the water and started pumping it out,...and into our other driveway. Which leads to the other side of the backyard and our succulent garden. So, again, my neighbor and I had to dig a place for the water to flow so it wouldn't flood our yard. There was a lot more engineering this time because I didn't want all the dirt washed away. So I was building small dams with rocks. This video is shot while I walked from the backyard, where the water was "draining" out, all the way to the source.
It was finally over and now I have no idea where to begin clean-up. And I say "so" a lot.
Sunday, August 17, 2008
I just ordered more patterns from Sublime Stitching and I can't wait to get started on those. I ordered the Om, Swanky Decor, Julie West and Country Cool.
I've become obsessed.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
We went with a friend today to see a free kids concert at The Americana. It's one of those fake cities with a trolley and an Urban Outfitters. The Squeegees played and Hartwell, the best dancer ever, hung on me and sucked his thumb. Then went to watch the musical fountain that plays "C'mon Get Happy" while the water dances.
Here they are playing on the playground before the concert. Someday I'll read about how to use my camera. Here's my trial and error versions. It's hard to capture the squirmies AND light them correctly. I thought I'd post this to remind myself to pay attention to the camera settings. And my kids are cute.