She Knows the Muffin Man.

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.

Gracie's Got a Brand New Bag

I finally packed the box to send to my sister. It contains Max's birthday gifts, (from July!), and her birthday gifts, (from August!). But no gifts for Miss Grace. So I threw this together for her. I made it out of a cafe curtain panel I inherited from my Grandma Lylia.
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!

A Tote By Any Other Name.

Every time I've been shopping in the last six month, Hartwell heads directly to any kind of bag/backpack/suitcase and proceeds to drag it around with him for the rest of the trip. The rolly suitcases are my favorite because as he wheels it behind him, he waves and says, "Bye, Mama! Bye!"
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.

Sofa King Un-cool

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.

How to Trick Kids and Influence People.

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.

Shanghai via Arcadia

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.

Rocket to the Max!

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.

"Technology is cyclical."

I still don't have cable in my bedroom. My little VCR setup makes me feel so old fashioned. "I have to rewind it," is a completely foreign phrase to Hartwell. And he's only 2!
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.


We have another friend who's having a baby! So for her, I made this bib. I got the pattern from Nested. I liked how this turned out, except that sewing the velcro to the bib left a funky stitched circle. So I covered it with a button. A button I stitched on within an inch of its life. That button ain't comin' off.

Family Photo Day!

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.