Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Preschooler-made birthday invitations

This year is the first time Juliana will be having a birthday party with her friends.  I was going to just make the invitations myself, but I wasn't coming up with any workable ideas.  One day when we were browsing a craft store, Juli saw some sparkly foam heart-shaped stickers and asked me to buy them, in that insistent way that almost-three-year-olds do.  I told her to put them on her birthday list.  She has quite an extensive list, including two "kid-houses" (play structures for the back yard), a swing, a slide, a sandbox, a kite, a scooter "so I can scoot!", a puppy (a real one, with a leash, wheels, and a bib), toys, princesses, and these sparkly heart stickers. 

So I decided to get her some sparkly stickers and let her make her own invitations.  I bought a pack of craft foam sheets and cut them in half, then let her stick as many sparkly foam stickers on them as she liked.  I got flowers as well as hearts and Juli didn't seem to mind.

Next I created the text on the computer, printed it on some bright yellow cardstock, and hot-glued it on the back.

On Sunday we had a great practice run for Juli's party.  Our church moms' group had a year-end family BBQ. Our back yard was just the right size for the 25-or-so people.  It was really nice to have a large group there and not have to worry about coordinating absolutely everything the first time.  I am blessed to have this group of women as my friends.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Uh oh! We're ready for the next level of baby proofing.

Favourite Colours

Our house is still yellow.  As Kevin says, it's like living inside a banana.  I've been trying to figure out the colours I want to live with when we do eventually paint. 

Juliana's favourite colour is PINK.  There is no question about that.  She's lucky.  I don't really have a favourite colour.  I like so many colours.  In clothing, I'm drawn to natural colours (brown, tan, and green), along with turquoise (how trendy I am!  It's the official colour for 2010) and red. 

In my last house, I stuck with a very warm pallet (red, gold, brown) in the living room, and a very cool pallet in the kitchen (turquoise and white).  Now, I have a very open main floor so I can't do that.  I'm just confused.  We have a large painting that I still love that is red and gold (see my header photo.  it inspired my livingroom's previous colour scheme), and very dark brown leather furniture.

One more thing that is throwing me off is that I'm REALLY drawn to all white/neutral rooms, like A Beach Cottage.

I really need to figure this out because the living room desperately needs curtains so we don't bake this summer.

So, here are my options:

TURQUOISE and RED - Very trendy!  It would balance out the furniture.  But what colour do I paint the walls?  Definitely not red.  I'm not so sure I'd want turquoise either.  Maybe a neutral tan?  That could work.  But what about my beloved green?

BROWN, GREEN, and WHITE - Very nice.  But I'm just unsure.  In this scenario, I could paint the walls tan or green.  I really like white accents.  But what would I do with my current red and gold stuff?  I can't afford to replace it all.

WHITE and TAN/NEUTRALS - White walls would not work.  Definitely not in this house.  So that leaves tan walls, with white and brown accents.  I love the simplicity of this look, but what do I do with my stuff?

And here's another option that I just thought of today:

GREEN, TURQUOISE, and NAVY - I'm really drawn to navy lately.  Our front door is going to be painted navy.  But I'm not sure I could pull off the green and turquoise together, although I've seen it done beautifully.  And again, what about my red and gold stuff?  I'm not entirely sure I could live in a completely cool feeling house.

See?  I'm so confused.  Whatever I decide for the curtains needs to also look unhorrible with the banana yellow, because it will be a while before we can paint.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Pretty Summer Girl

A few weeks ago I raided the fabric store's remnant bin again.  I got an embroidered ivory piece that was only 11 inches wide.  I wasn't sure what I could do with it, since the scalloped edge was only on the short sides.  I decided to make a shirt for Juliana.   

I measured her chest, which was 22 inches. If my fabric was any narrower, I wouldn't have been able to use it. Because of the lack of fabric, I couldn't make the front piece flare out like I had intended. So I just added the extra flare onto the two back pieces. The side seams slant to the front, and I think it makes an interesting design element.

I flat-felled the seams because I have no serger or pinking shears to finish the raw edges, and I've always wanted to try it.  There's elastic in the back and little pleats in the straps.Except for the little triangles cut to angle the sides of the back pieces, I used every square inch of fabric. I love how the little pleated pockets turned out.

I need to sew under the top corners of the front so they don't stick out, and I think I'm going to sew both straps in the centre of the back instead. But other than that, I love this little top.

Monday, 21 June 2010

Grosgrain: The Streamer Frock Grosgrain Giveaway

Ok, this is a gorgeous dress! I love it. Go see it, but don't enter because I need to win it ;-) Grosgrain: The Streamer Frock Grosgrain Giveaway

Freezer Paper Stenciling for Fathers' Day

Usually, I am at a loss to figure out what to give Kevin for Fathers' Day.  But this year I knew exactly what to do.  I ordered a gallery-wrapped canvas of the above picture.  He took the picture when he went to Chicago in December for a couple of Blackhawks games.  I used my mad Microsoft Paint skills to adjust the colour.  I could have used my Photoshop Elements, but it would have taken me three times as long...and that's just to figure out how to do it.  I wanted to do three canvasses, but it ended up being more expensive than I thought it would be.  So maybe he'll get the other two for Christmas.  (shh!  Don't tell him.)

As I hinted in my first freezer paper stenciling post, I painted shirts for the kids to wear on Fathers' Day.  For Nick's I couldn't find a plain shirt without the pocket, so I decided to make use of it.  Kevin is an accountant, so Nick has a calculator in his pocket (not that Kevin actually carries a calculator in his shirt pocket...he's a cool accountant).  I'm thrilled with how the little numbers turned out with the stencil.  I didn't think they would show up.

Kevin and Juliana like to listen to music and sing together.  She likes to sing "I Gotta Feelin'" by the Black Eyed Peas, "I'm Yours" by Jason Mraz, and "Poker Face" by Lady Gaga.  But she knows that I DO NOT like Lady Gaga, so she doesn't sing that one often.  So she got headphones on her shirt.  When she first saw the clipart I used, she said "Hey, those are daddy's things!"  So I knew it was the right picture to use.  I didn't want to have perfect coverage for hers, so there's some green showing through the navy in some places.  I actually should have let more green show, but oh well.  Lately, I love the combination of green with navy.  And turquoise with navy.  When I was homeschooled, I had to wear a lot of navy and white, so I've kind of avoided the colour since.  But now I like it again.

We saw a full rainbow on the way home from the lake on Saturday night.  I couln't get a picture of the whole thing, and the colours didn't show up as bright as they were in real life, but here's a piece of our rainbow.

Friday, 18 June 2010

Poor Little Lost Bunny

We have a visitor.  A much nicer visitor than the mice that Kevin recently evicted from the garage.  But still a rodent.  Last night I was using the computer in the basement, which is situated directly under the window.  Suddenly, I heard something scratching on the screen!  My first thought was "mouse, ew!"  I looked up and definitely saw some rodent paws scratching, and a little rodent nose sniffing.  But for a mouse, they were huge!  Ew!  I knew we don't have rats in Alberta, so I had to take a closer look.  I stood up and peered outside.  There was a poor little lost and confused bunny!  He was so little!  We had found a different bunny in our yard a few days ago when Kevin was mowing.  It was hiding under the kids' slide.  But this new little bunny is about half the size.  So tiny!

I ran upstairs and had Kevin, my hero, come outside with me to rescue the poor baby.  After peeking in to the window well and taking a picture, I had to stand back because I hate having things (especially rodents) jump out at me.  After unsuccessfully trying to catch the baby, Kevin had to put something in the window well to act as a ramp and shoo the little guy out.  He ran under our back steps, and there he remains.  Kevin put some radishes and lettuce out for him, but he's just huddling in the corner under the steps.  Is he lost?  Where's his mama?  How can we send him back home?

Monday, 14 June 2010

Embroidered Napkins Using Stamps - Tutorial

I have no patience for cross-stitch or other counted types of embroidery, but I love to do freehand embroidery.  I wanted to make a gift for my friend who is a super-talented stamper.  I made her some embroidered cloth napkins using a Stampin'Up stamp set.

Cloth napkins to be embroidered (or whatever other fabric you want to embroider.)  Prewashed.
Embroidery thread
Embroidery hoop.  Not essential, but it does make things easier and smoother
Embroidery needle.
Stamps.  Simple line-drawings will be the easiest to follow, but other types could work.
Water-soluable ink.  I used Stampin'Up's colour spots, because that's what I had, and it washed out beautifully.
A fun drink (optional, but so tasty!)

Step 1: Stamp your image.  If you mess up, just stamp again in a different corner.  Water-soluable ink is very important ;-)  (sorry for the blurry pictures.  Next time I do this, I'll try to get clearer pictures to post).

Step 2: Thread your needle with two strands of embroidery thread in your chosen colour.  (separated from the usual 6 strands that the thread comes in).  Place your napkin in the embroidery hoop.  Poke your needle through the back of your fabric and pull the thread through, leaving a tail at the back about an inch long.  Be sure to catch the tail in the back of your first few stitches to secure it.  You can trim off the excess when you're done.

Step 3:  Use a backstitch to follow the lines of your stamp.  This video tutorial shows how to do a backstitch way better than I could explain.

I started from the simplest part of my stamp to get the hang of the embroidery before getting to the more complicated part.  I used a pretty small stitch.  The tighter your curve the smaller the stitch needed to make a smooth line.  So I just started with fairly small stitches. 

I skipped a few spots as I was stitching, and filled them in later.  I tried to keep the back as neat as possible, since in a napkin it wouldn't be covered.

Step 4:  When you've finished stitching your design, and your needle is on the back of your fabric, run the needle under the back of a few stitches and pull the thread through to secure it.  I did that 2 or 3 times, and I'm fairly certain it will hold up well.



Step 5:  Remove the embroidery hoop and wash the napkins however you normally wash table linens.  I just throw them in with the laundry.

Step 6:  Press the napkins, use starch if you want a really crisp look.  Fold nicely or dress them up with some pretty napkin rings.

If I was unclear about anything in this tutorial, or you have other questions, feel free to ask in the comments or email me.  Let me know if you give it a try.  I'd love to see pictures.

The Girl Creative

Friday, 11 June 2010

Cookie Recipe Review and Giveaway Winner

Yesterday my friend's two children came over for the day because she is out of town and her husband needed to work.  We had quite a fun-filled day!  Since Juli was occupied and playing, and Nico was just happy to crawl around among the big kids, I found myself with some time to bake!  I made whole wheat chocolate chip cookies from Suburban farmergirl's recipe.  Mine weren't organic though.

When I first read through the recipe, I was a little unsure about it.  No butter.  A full cup of oil.  No baking powder.  But I thought I'd give it a try anyway, because the picture just looks yummy!

Turns out, I didn't have quite enough oil, so my dough was a bit drier than it should have been.  Consequently, the cookies didn't spread as much as Jen's did.

But they were absolutely delicious!  I LOVE these cookies.  Even better, the kids all loved them!  Juliana's face and hands were covered with chocolate when she finished hers, and the other kids liked them too.  I will definitely be making these cookies again.

In the above picture, the kids are watching a movie and having a snack while sitting in Juli's princess tent.  They were so good.  For half the day, they insisted on being called different names.  "Joel", "Barbara", and "Alison".  Though little Barbara kept forgetting and called Juli "Alex", much to Joel's annoyance.

I made three colours of koolaid playdoh for the kids, and sent some home with the kids.  They had fun with it.


Ok, now for the cherry earrings giveaway winner.  There were 8 entries, and picked #6.

So the winner is Sally of Life in Sally's World.

Thanks for entering, everyone!

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Grosgrain: HUNBABA Mei Tai Baby Carrier Guest Giveaway

Grosgrain: HUNBABA Mei Tai Baby Carrier Guest Giveaway I've seen these carriers a couple of times, and they look SO comfortable! Nick is a little old now, but I have friends with babies.

A little boy's devotion is rewarded

My husband is a Chicago Blackhawks fan.  Not just a 2010 Fan.  He's been a fan since he was a kid.  His uncle, who was a father-figure to him is a fan.  So for a good 20-25 years, Kevin has been waiting for HIS team to finally win.  The last time they were good was in 1992, but they failed to win the Stanley Cup.  The last win was in 1961, 20 years before Kevin was even born. 

But last night they won!  Yay!  I love seeing him so excited.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Organisation - Preschooler's Art Supplies

I used to keep all of Juliana's art stuff in a cardboard file box in this closet.  But I got so tired of digging through the box to find things, and the completed art was getting a little out of hand.  Not to mention Juliana's birthday cards.  Where do you put those?

Juliana had this Ikea organising thing in her bedroom that we bought for her books and toys, but she kept emptying  it.  So I conscripted it for this.  I think the key to keeping this organised is the lables.  Juli is too young to read them, but it helps me to remember what goes where, especially if Juli has put things in the wrong drawer.

Now, I have no idea how to organise the rest of my house.  Any ideas?

Don't forget to enter my Giveaway!

Monday, 7 June 2010

Broken Earrings and Cherry Earrings - Giveaway Closed

I made myself some earrings for the first time!  On the left, above, are some earrings that I think look like cherries.  I was inspired by the earrings in this flickr photo (her dress is amazing too!).  I love how they turned out.  On the right are the remaining pieces of my broken necklace.  These ones are great too!  I love their dramatic length and the fact that they look a little unfinished with the chains at the bottom.  The chains wouldn't fit on the jump ring I used.

Giveaway:  I had some extra red beads from making the cherry earrings, so I made another pair!  The giveaway is for the clean and unworn pair of red cherry earrings.  The beads are natural stone, so they are a little heavy and not perfectly matched.  That's what I like about them.
To enter, simply leave a comment on this post, including a way to contact you (blog or email address).  If you don't want to leave your email on a public blog, feel free to email me in addition to leaving your comment.  So, tell all your friends to come enter.  I'll pick a winner on Friday, June 11.

Friday, 4 June 2010

Broken Necklace

For Christmas I got a really nice brown/neutral long necklace.  I loved it, but the first time I wore it, I caught it on something and it broke.  I tried a few times to fix it, but it just kept breaking.  Today, I decided to turn it into a bracelet!  The top necklace is what I started with:

The bottom one will also be turned into a bracelet, but I need to get some better pliers to take it apart.  I have a few extra beads that I'll turn into earrings once I can get to Michaels to get the earring findings.

And here is 2010's version of my ruby slippers.  My red sandals are on their way out, but I haven't found a replacement yet.  These shoes were $10 at the Shoe Warehouse, and they are very comfortable.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Last Spring Tulips

These tulips are from the very last patch to bloom.  I ran out of space in my flower beds, so I planted the last 10 bulbs in a patch of dirt next to the fence, where the sod doesn't go all the way over.  I'm so glad I did!  It's a cheerful late-spring treat.  There are about 4 left outside that I'll cut when they start to get colour.

Surprisingly, these are the first ones I've brought inside, out of the 100+ I planted.