Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Free Giveaway!

It's time, once again, for another giveaway. And while it doesn't directly relate to crafting, I'm hoping it will still suffice.

Being that crafting is a labor-intensive sport, what better way to take a respite than escaping into a book?

This on is called, "Everything Lovely, Effortless, Safe" by Jennie Hollowel.
While I have not read the book, I can share a synopsis written by Amazon:

"Birdie Baker has always dreamed of becoming someone else. At twenty-two, she sets off to do just that. Walking out on her pastor husband and deeply evangelical parents, she leaves behind her small-town, small-time life and gets on a bus to Los Angeles.

Nine years later, Birdie's life in Hollywood is far from golden, and nothing in the intervening years—the brutal auditions, the tawdry commercials—has brought her any closer to the transformation she craves. Caught between success and failure, haunted by guilt about a tragedy in her long-forsaken family, Birdie is at the brink of collapse when she meets Lewis, a beautiful but na├»ve young actor with his own troubled history, whose self-destructive impulses run dangerously parallel to her own.

When her big chance finally comes, Birdie must reconcile the wide-eyed girl she once was with the jaded starlet she has become and try to find herself and her future somewhere in between. Everything Lovely, Effortless, Safe is the story of a young woman's struggle to make her own way in the Technicolor land of make-believe."

You can win this book three different ways:

1. Add a comment to this or any other post on my blog.

2. Become a follower of this blog.

3. Add a link from your blog to mine (i.e. you can mention the free giveaway in your own blog with a link to my blog - if you do this, please be sure and let me know you've done so in the comments box.)

Each different method counts as one entry in the giveaway raffle. Do all three and up your chances to win! I will mail this book to the winner.

All entries must be received by the end of the day on Tuesday, August 31st.....good luck!

I will randomly select a lucky winner on Wednesday, September 1st.

Now, stop surfing the internet and get back to work!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Show Me A Story: Felt Board Friends


I made these a while back for Mr. P. when he seemed to know a story so well, he was ready to take it to the next level.
Please excuse the errant cat hair.

I have seen similar felt board characters for popular children's stories at Lakeshore Learning Center. They also sell more plush / 3D characters with squares of felt on the back that stick to the felt board.

In any case, after reading and re-reading two of Mr. P's favorites, I decided to make my own and "animate" the classic,"Are You My Mother?"

and "Red Hat, Green Hat".

Ms. Boynton's book's sort of annoy me, but this one makes me laugh. Maybe it's because I can totally identify with the turkey who can't seem to figure out which article of clothing goes where. Cut to me with my sweater buttoned wrong...again. And the other day, I kid you not, I had a rip in my crotch all day and had no clue until Mr. P. said, "when you sit down I can see your underwear."

Here are the basic items you need for this project:

favorite book
felt in assorted colors
poster board
a large piece of felt to cover your poster board
and tracing paper, if you don't like funny looking imitations.

I prefer funny looking imitations, so I tend to just trust my eye.

You can make your own felt board by gluing any big piece of felt (any color) to a large poster board, depending on what size you want.

Use the tracing paper to copy the image from the book and then pin it to your felt before cutting, or just eyeball it. Once you cut out your felt, draw in any necessary parts like eyes, noses, mouths, etc. with markers. I used permanent markers to make sure that the felt in a baby's mouth wouldn't deem said felt suddenly expressionless.

It's fun to find pictures that involve some sort of layering, because kids like to put the felt on top of other pieces of felt. Kids just like that sort of thing.

You can then read from the story and depending on the age of the child, either manipulate the felt pieces to go with the story or let the child hold the felt pieces and cue them in as to when they should place the pieces on the felt board. Mr. P. likes to "deviate" from the story and make up his own narrative. The poor turkey from red Hat, Blue Hat has cracked his skull many a time on that final, climactic swan dive, though I refuse to animate that scene with felt.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

washcloths with (under) bite

Recently, I came across this image from the blog Running With Scissors:

I had to give it a whirl. The blog post suggested using recycled towels, however, the only towels I could find were pastelly (I know that's not a real word) and not vibrant enough for what I wanted to do. Instead I found some great, inexpensive, and bright towels at Target (pre-boycott).
I have never worked with towel terrycloth before. I found it a bit challenging, as the material seemed to get caught on the needle and unravel as I was working it.
I even broke my first needle! (which sort of made me feel like a sewing badass.)
I couldn't print out the pattern from the website, so I decided to just wing it and create two washcloths - a shark and a fish. They both look the same - droopy, forlorn.

And they both have underbites, which, I feel is a totally underrepresented demographic in our society...right?

Monday, August 9, 2010

I'm Blue

Today was "Blue" day at Mr. P's school. Last week, the kids voted on what kind of a theme day they were going to have (last year it was pajama day).

He was so excited to pick out all of his blue clothing the night before. And he wanted just two of his fingernails painted blue.

For breakfast, I made a "blue plate special" complete with blue scrambled eggs, blue-dotted toast (thanks Sunday Hot Pants!) and blueberries.

Do ya think his poop will be blue?

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Party Themes


     Winnie the Pooh                 lego party                          pirate party


knights and castles              superhero party              carnival party              Les Miserables party

           Minecraft party

Pattern Reviews


  spring ruffle top               circle skirt                       frontier vest               infant peasant dress


          bubble dress              amelia dress                                  box bag


           wash top                            scout tee                 sorbetto top


           baby bassinet                                      washi top

               kids t-shirt

Travel With Kids

     Ojai, California

Montreal, Quebec, Canada

           train travel tips

               Oahu, Hawaii

Valentine's Day


Friday, August 6, 2010

Scallion Crepes with Stir Fry

This week's farmer's market rocked!

More Chinese long beans, baby bok choy, spinach, round zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower! It called for something special. Below, you'll find my recipe for Scallion Crepes with Stir Fry, which can be eaten much like a burrito.

To make the crepes: (makes 6, 5-inch crepes)

2 eggs

1/2 tbs canola oil

1/2 tbs peanut oil

1/4 cup milk or soymilk

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup all purpose flour

3 scallions (chopped)

Sesame seeds

Blend the first 7 ingredients together for about ten seconds. It should resemble pancake batter.

Get a frying pan ready and add some oil of your choice. Throw some chopped up scallions on the pan, spread apart and let cook for about a minute. Then pour batter over scallions, covering entire pan. Cook like you would a pancake, flip when the batter begins to bubble. Once you take the crepe off the pan, throw some scallions on top.

The filling:

Simply stir fry whatever vegetables you have on hand in some peanut oil and soy sauce. We used bok choy, spinach and yellow onions. You can drizzle with some lemon juice and sprinkle with cayenne pepper flakes.

Serve filling inside crepe, like a burrito, or on the side. Serve with white rice.

A true feast!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Quintessential Quilt

Another lifetime ago, I was living alone in the Hollywood Hills and decided I would try my hand at making a quilt. I bought all of the material and meticulously hand cut hundreds of 2" x 2" squares, then began hand sewing them together. Full of support, my friend Al said, “You’re never going to finish that.” I scoffed at him and went back to my sewing.
Well, ten years have gone by and those quilting squares remain, for the most part, unsewn and stuffed in a plastic Ziploc bag in a cabinet. But now that I am a sewer with a machine, I decided it was time to try once again to craft a quilt.

My first genius move was buying pre-cut layer cake pieces from Moda. Not only did this spare me days upon days of precise cutting, but the “layer cakes” (fancy sewing phrase that means pre-cut, 10" x 10" squares) are already all coordinated, so those of us with less of an eye for color design can still make good looking quilts! And in keeping with my ever-growing sewing vocabulary, I also learned, while completing this project, that rectangular pre-cut, 2 ½" x 45” pieces are referred to as “jelly rolls.”
(All of these dessert analogies make me hungry! Can I get a cup of coffee with my fabric? Make it a double. These kids make me exhausted.)

I picked out the squares I liked the most (I have lots left over) and arranged them on the floor. Then the sewing began. It really went pretty quickly – just sewing straight lines, row after row.
I added the batting, a material for the underside of the quilt and then quilting bias to seal the deal and……baby has a new quilt for his room!

Total project time = 4 hours tops! Someone more focused could easily finish in two hours.
If you are interested in seeing a quilt tutorial, please let me know and I will put one together.
In the meantime, check out Moda’s clever Bakeshop websitethat features “Chefs” (crafters) and “recipes” (tutorials).
Anyone need a few hundred 2” x 2” squares????