Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Try Again!

With the onset of Spring, I started day dreaming of crystal clear apothecary jars, home to dew covered, mossy, terrariums spotted with miniature mushrooms, tiny smooth pebbles, and baby bonsai trees. There are quite a few of us "crafty types" in the office that I work in, so a bit of crafty something or another is often interjected into our holiday celebrations. For Easter, each team got a foam craft egg to decorate. Hoping to bring my vision to life, I managed to convince my team that our foam egg was destined to be a terrarium of sorts. Here’s the thing, in my attempts to reassure everyone that it wasn’t really going to be as involved/difficult as creating a little ecosystem that looked like a tiny enchanted woodland seemed, I assured them we could find everything we needed for our terrarium just outside our office doors. Alas, my office building is not nestled in a forest next to a babbling brook shrouded in the cover of weeping willows… dusty, crunchy, brown swirly thingies from the plants in the lobby took the place of moss covered river rocks … not quite what I had in mind. Okay, so keeping in mind that we did literally just have what was outside our office doors to work with... doors that open on to a cracked cement parking lot, next to a construction site, bordered by box hedges in mulch, here’s what we came up with. I cut an opening in the egg with a box knife and painted the inside a robin’s egg blue. A sprig from a bush became the stand-in bonsai (work with me here!), two bits of mulch tied together with a rubber band form a cross, a little white stone adds at least a little contrast, and then there’s the pom-pom and pipe cleaner bunny.

I’m seriously considering hitting delete on this whole post. Yes, I did realize this project was a train wreck, but the ridiculousness has become even more apparent as I’ve typed the details here. *sigh*

Alright, since the other submissions in the egg decorating contest were just as funny... even funnier when you consider grown adults in a professional work environment hand crafted these things... I'll post them for your entertainment. Don’t like me less:

I'll be back in a day or two to post my redemption. Oh and sweet redemption it is, don't miss my next post!

From Our Nest to Yours

What's up with Easter being the first week in April this year?
St. Patrick's Day was yesterday wasn't it?! Okay, I better get started with the Eastery posts, kicking it off with a card Elle made. This little tutorial for chicks made from hand prints got her started, but she took it to a whole new place with the nest complete with "kinda stickish" ribbon embellishment, a cut out spot for the chicks to tuck into, red brads for their cheeks, and the cutest little saying for the inside "Happy Easter from our nest to yours" (she had a little help with that one... something along the lines of "Have a Nesty Easter" was her original suggestion). Crafts made from the littles' hands are always fun and make cute keepsakes... especially this year when there's such a big difference between the size of the girls' hands!

Friday, March 26, 2010

A Kid Essential

A good stool is an absolute MUST in a household with kiddos! A little piece of furniture just their size facilitates independence and is a spot to call their own. A stool gives them somewhere to sit in front of entertainment centers, a boost up to the bathroom sink, a resting spot while you do their hair, a way to reach the counter to help with dinner, and even a quite place to sit and "think about their actions" as we call it in our house ;)

A little handmade wooden stool was one of my very first purchases on Etsy. 3 years later, it's pretty beat up and in need of some TLC... which it will get, but that's a post for some other time. While looking for a replacement, I came across this KidKraft step and store stool.

Okay, so here's the thing. I need your help! I'm totally loving this stool, the storage will be great, and it'll be even cuter since I'm having Elle's name put on it in a pretty script font in lime green (just below the cut out on the front of the stool). BUT, it could still use a little sprucing up. What do you think... do you have any ideas of how I could add a little something to the stool? Leave me a comment and if I use your idea I'll send you a handmade surprise in the mail!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


We’re so happy to have my Doug’s sister home from a tour of duty with the Army! Have you ever been to meet a group of soldiers as they’re arriving home to the states for the first time in 6 months or more? It was a fun experience… lots of people in uniform, lots of anxious family members, lots of hugging and happy tears! We were excited to get to be a part of her home coming and made some signs so we would stand out from the crowd. While hunting around Michael’s for sign making materials I found a poster making kit Neat huh?! The letters are on little pads so you get a small stack of each letter and they’re like post-it sticky on the top of the back so you can line them all up and reposition as needed. Then you just glue them down with glue stick and waa laa a perfectly lettered perfectly easy sign! Oh, and instead of spending almost twice as much on foam core or using a flimsy piece of poster board, we cut up one of those folding cardboard science fair project board thingies. Easy, cute, fun to do with a kiddo, what more could you ask for?!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Leprechaun's Pot O' Goo

I decided, at the last minute, to send a little St. Paddy's Day something with Elle for her friends at "school". It of course had to be green & I didn't want to send sweets (the last thing four 4yr olds need is sugar!). The only logical option was make your own green slime kits! I dubbed it "Leprechaun's Pot O' Goo". I snickered to myself last night as I imagined how thrilled the parents must be with me at that very moment while their kids were trying to convince them of how fun it'll be to make slime!

Of course I wouldn't knowingly torture parents like that. We tried it out for ourselves ahead of time. Although my girly girl was a bit hesitant to dive wrist deep in the goo while we were making it, she warmed up to it pretty quickly and was super excited about giving it to her friends in the morning! Oh, and it's only fair that I mention (since he doesn't read my blog on the regular) that my Doug liked playing with it more than Elle... it entertained him for at least an hour :)

Making Goo requires only a few simple ingredients, so it's especially easy to make up a little kit. You'll just need:

> 4oz bottle of white glue - I pd $1 for 2 bottles at the dollar store
> 2 tsp Borax - it's been around forever, but if you're not familiar, it's a powder you can put in your laundry, a "natural laundry booster". Comes in a box
> 1/4 tsp coloring - You can use liquid food coloring, but since I was making these into kits I wanted something I could easily package. Koolaid mix works, but I couldn't find green koolaid .so I opted for green apple "Fun Dip" and it worked just fine.
> The recipe - I made these instructions, printed & cut them out and stuck them in with the kit.

Surprisingly, making and playing with the goo wasn't messy at all! It didn't leave any sort of residue or coloring on there hands or anything they were playing with... granted it was supervised play.

Have fun and let me know if you try it out!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Winged Wrap Carrier

It's been a while since I introduced a new Elle Belle product... well maybe not that long... December I guess (Hey! Did I ever post about the patchwork rattle balls?!).

ANYWAY I'm super excited to introduce my winged wrap carrier!

My little chubster (it's a term of endearment in our house) has sparked my love affair with wrap carriers. I can carry her so much longer in a wrap carrier than I can in a ring sling because the wrap distributes her weight not only across my back and shoulder like a ring sling, but also across my hips and both shoulders. It's really remarkable how much lighter she feels! The ring sling is more portable & is really quick to put on, so I use my favorite Mom Tattoo sling for quick trips in and out of stores, but when I'm not sure how long I'll be somewhere I opt for the wrap sling. And how sweet are those angel wings?? Urban Threads rocks my embroidery design world!

If you're not familiar with wrap carriers, do a little YouTube search to check them out. When you're ready to give it a whirl I know where you can buy a really awesome wrap carrier that's totally unique, sure to get you lots of compliments, and made with love!

Don't forget about Mother's Day coming up! The winged wrap carrier or the Mom Tattoo ring sling would be the perfect Mother's Day gift for a new Mommy or a soon-to-be Mommy!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Chubby Baby + Handmade Kimono = Too Cute!

The kimono outfit from Amy Butler's Little Stitches for Little Ones book was the very first project I made for Liv as soon as we knew if we were having a boy or girl. I loved how it turned out (see it here), but they never get much wear out of size 0-3 months (especially when they're 9lbs 4oz to start out with). I realized about a month ago that since Liv is already wearing size 12months clothes, she was going to be out of the sizes in the book really soon, so I better get to makin' if I want her to have any more of those cute little numbers. I thought I would pick a different outfit to make this time, maybe a pretty little dress, but no. I couldn't resist the kimono outfit again... especially since I had Heather Ross' unbelievably soft cotton double gauze fabric begging to be used. It's from Heather's Far Far Away line, you can find it online here.

The first kimono I made had short sleeves, but I made this one with long sleeves, and added a lining to the inside cuffs so I could roll them up in case they were a bit long, which ended up being a good thing! So here you have it, the last little kimono outfit for my darling Liv... well from this pattern anyway :)

Oh, and check out the little wood and wool teether Liv's holding. It's from a pretty little Etsy shop called justhatched. I don't see it listed in their shop at the moment, but they have another wooden teether shaped into the international breastfeeding symbol. Thier wooden leaf puzzle looks beautiful too. There's just something special about the simple aesthetic appeal of a hand crafted wooden toy!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

It's on!

Have you ever stumbled onto something, maybe a friend introduced you to something new, or you read a blog post about something you’ve never heard of before and thought “wow, I could really get into that!”? I have. It was like that for me with natural childbirth. I talked briefly to a pregnant friend who recommended that we take Bradley classes when I mentioned we were looking for child birth classes. Everything I read about Bradley made perfect sense to me. Before we even signed up for the classes I knew we would have natural childbirth if at all possible, I just needed to take the classes to figure out how. And we did by the way… have natural childbirth with both my daughters. This happened to my Mom too; I remember the night she came home from a Creative Memories home party and with excitement in her voice described a tiny paper cutter and scissors with blades that cut designs (this was years and years ago before anyone had even heard of our now modern day scrapbooking & before it was in craft stores… sheesh what did Michaels even have before scrapbooking?!). That was the beginning of what become a hobby, business, and a passion of mine (which has since been replaced by sewing) and it even spread to the rest of my family including my Aunt who runs a scrapbook business and recently launched their 2nd line of brand new scrapbooking products, Mud Puddles. Okay so what’s this got to do with anything?! You guessed it; I’ve stumbled onto a new obsession.

I was looking for no-waste options for Elle’s lunches that she’ll take to school and discovered bento. Bento is the Japanese word for lunch. It’s the way children and adults take their lunch in Japan. This post is already getting long, so I’m just going to give you a link to this great site that has tons of info about it so you can do some exploring of your own and read more about this way of packing a lunch that encourages children to eat healthy foods and try new things and helps us all with portion control. I’m all about bento! I have a “thing” for spatial agreement… a bordering on OCD “thing” for it. And, of course there’s my pesky creative side that isn’t particular about satisfaction in whatever form it presents itself. Visions of healthy foods shaped into happy little animals, arranged in whimsical fashion, neatly nestled in shallow containers of various sizes, dance in my head… and on whatever scraps of paper I can find. I’m disproportionately excited about this whole thing, especially considering I’ve only ever actually made 2 bentos. But I’m ready to get this bento thing started with the debut of my first bentos:

I made these for Elle and me to eat on the plane on our way to IL. Elle’s is a peanut butter and marshmallow fluff (speaking of pandora’s box… this was her first taste of fluff… I bet you can guess whether she liked it or not ;)) sandwich with a cloud shape cut out of the top piece of bread so that the fluff peaks through and a fruit leather plane. She also had grapes, pretzels in a silicone cupcake wrapper (so they wouldn’t get soggy from any of the moisture in the grapes), and 2 string cheeses. Mine was the same minus the marshmallow fluff & plane… although I did add in the bits of left over fruit leather after I took the picture ;)… and I added wasabi soy almonds mmmm!

Have you heard of bento before? Were you ever introduced to something and just knew right away it was going to become a new interest? Let me know....

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