Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Giving Thanks

I love a good food challenge, so Thanksgiving, however exhausting, was really fun!

I am always impressed with how an array of food from the farmer's market turns into an actual meal. And Thanksgiving was no exception. 

It began with a botched attempt at taking Mr. P. to see "Tangled". We dropped Doodlebop off at my parents' at 8:30 am, but then the projector at the movie theater broke (go figure) so we came home and they watched Toy Story 3 while we began the cooking. 

We were a small group this year and did a potluck. I contributed:

Cranberry / walnut / pomegranate bread:

A brie, pear and olive tart (no photos because while it was delicious, it was sadly not so photogenic)

Persimmon, celery root and Swiss chard stuffing: (the recipe can be found here)

And a fresh cranberry and blueberry pie!

The table was set...

The boys got all dolled up:

And I got a new fall do!

Then the feasting began....

and didn't end until Sunday night. Hello I come! 

Monday, November 29, 2010

My Tree Has A Pulse!!!

I am posting this is hopes that others in Southern California will do the same this year and so that readers in other parts of the world will be encouraged to find similar services in their area!

By the time my friend Brooke told me last year, that she had rented a “live tree” for Christmas, we had already bought our tree at the local lot. But I stored the information in my little brain for this year.

Which brings me to my point…I just ordered my tree online at

It was so easy!!!

Renting a live tree as opposed to cutting one down has many benefits to the environment. Think about all the trees that are destroyed in order to sit dying in your living room? (And when I say “your” living room, I also mean “my” living room, as I have been responsible for the death of a tree for the past 33 years.)

But now, I get to adopt a 6 – 7 foot potted tree of my own! And what’s more, if I fall madly in love with the tree, I can have it back next year during the holidays and see how much its grown! The tree will get delivered to my doorstep in a week or so and after New Year’s, they will come and take the tree away. The trees come in different varieties and sizes.

They also offer eco-friendly ornaments, LED lighting, and eco-friendly stocking stuffers and gift-wrap.

I’ll have to post again when I get the tree, but I wanted to get this out there in cyber space as soon as possible for all you other SoCal people who are about to take your kids tree shopping…..whip out your “Lorax” book and order a live tree online instead!!!

We Have A Winner!

Congratulations to Heidelbergs who, thanks to the Random Number Generator,  has won the Book and Bag Contest!

Heidelbergs said, "Goodie! I've been wanting to read that book!"

Stay tuned for more giveaways (and less crafts involving turkeys...yeah!!)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Waiting for the Bird


It can be challenging to cook an entire Thanksgiving meal with kids in the house. 

Here are some turkey-related art activities that can keep them occupied while you stay busy cooking and sampling which wine you'd like to serve (at least that's what I call it). 

Paper Bag Turkeys:

click here to see how to make these easy up-cycled turkeys. 

Handprint Turkeys:

Use different colored paint for each feather. Add googly eyes and some glitter and you're done! It's fun to compare this project each year to see how much your kids' hands have grown!

Turkey on a Stick:

click here to see how to make these turkeys out of used cereal boxes. 

Cork Turkeys:

click here to see how to make turkeys out of wine corks. 

Turkey Coloring Pages:

A simple Google search will yield pages and pages of turkeys to color in. Place them at the kids’ table (or as a placemat) and give the kids some crayons. 

You've just bought yourself at least ten more minutes of prep time. Use it well!!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

3, 2, 1....Blastoff!

I've been toying with the idea of making Mr. P. a T-shirt for some time now and with his 5th birthday around the corner, I finally decided on a rocket ship image. 

The T-shirt I bought for the project is black and the corduroy material is a dark burgundy. Bad choice, since the dark fabric doesn't really "pop" from its black background. So I added one more layer of natural linen to really make the rocket zoom. 

First, I drew a small version of the design on paper and then a larger one. (Making sure the smaller one actually fit inside of the larger one since that's how it would rest on the t-shirt.) 

I cut both paper designs out. 

Pinned them to their respective fabric and cut!

I decided to sew a round window to the rocket and started with that first layer. 

Then I pinned the burgundy rocket to the natural rocket and sewed them together. 

Then I pinned the entire shebang to the black t-shirt and sewed away. 

I felt like a ninny when on not one, but two occasions, I accidentally sewed the front of the t-shirt to the back of the t-shirt. Lame!!

TIP: If I were to do this again, I would try to be less lazy and instead of leaving my edges raw, I would have taken the time to iron them under in order to prevent them from fraying with each wash. Because I took the easy way out, I'll have to be sure and wash this by hand to avoid the rocket from literally taking off.....

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Shake Your Tail Feather

In the spirit of finding things to do with spare cork (you'll recall the cork checkers board game) I introduce you to the cork turkey, perfect for any holiday table. 

To make this bird, you'll need the following:

(Since I have two kids to craft with, the photo shows two of everything.)


googly eyes

colored construction paper for feathers and head

papers clips


glue or glue stick

To make:

Cut out a turkey face 

apply eyes

apply beak

glue to cork

Make tail feather fan by cutting out feathers and gluing. 

Glue to back of cork. 

It's best to let the whole thing dry before proceeding with the next step. 

Unravel paper clip so you have one straight side to poke through the cork. Adjust legs so the turkey sits properly. 

Place on Thanksgiving table to enjoy!!

You could even make a slip at the top and insert place cards into the cork!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Free Giveaway: Book and a Bag!!

Because I am getting into the spirit of giving, I present you with not one, but two prizes!

The first is a hard-cover copy of Joyce Maynard's The Good Daughters, which came out recently. Some of you may know her from previous novels, such as To Die For and Labor Day. 

Or perhaps you remember her memoir, At Home in the World, which explores her 9-month relationship with literary icon, J.D. Salinger. She was only 18, and the very private Salinger, 53. 

In any case, Maynard is a gifted and successful writer and writing instructor. 

I won't say too much about it, but The Good Daughters is the kind of book that slowly creeps up on you. It's a story of two girls born on the same day, but who live completely different lives, intersecting at pivotal moments in each other's lives. It's a story about family, destiny and the struggle between nature versus nurture. 

And who doesn't love a hardcover book to add to their shelf?? If you don't like the book, re-gift it for the holidays, I'll never know!

The winner will also receive this small zipper pouch, perfect for reading glasses, an i-phone, spare change, snacks or whatever else you'd like to fill it with. 

You can win this book and zip pouch 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 and bag to the winner.

This contest will close on Sunday, November 28th. (Because of the craziness of Thanksgiving, I'm giving this one a bit more time than normal.)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

simple wreath project

This one is easy enough for the 20 month old to complete.

Step One: Gather leaves.

Living in Southern California, we don't have quite the array of fall leaves that you folks in colder climates get, but the tree in front of our house (and I'm no arborist; I don't even know what kind of tree it is) drops these beautiful red leaves every fall.

Step Two: Cut circle shape.

Ideally, I wanted to use cardboard, but we didn't have any laying around the day of the project, and the cereal box wasn't wide enough. So I used a Whole Foods bag instead. Conveniently, their logo has a circle on it, so I just used that as my guide. I left a little notch for a ribbon up top. The paper was kind of wrinkly-crinkly, so I placed them in the pages of a heavy book over night to flatten out.

I let them color the paper first in order to extend the length of the project. 

Step Three: Glue leaves to wreath.

Simple enough. Although Mr. P. got carried away with this step and glued the leaf to his brother's cheek "by accident."

Step Four: Let dry, make hole through notch and thread ribbon.

I wanted to put these on the outside of our front door, but the thinness of the paper prevented me from doing so. Instead, they're on the inside - a festive way to say goodbye!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Two for the Price of One - reversible bag

I set out to write this blog entry ages ago but got waylaid by the train wreck that was the inside of all of my bags and purses. 

Exhibit A: Here are the contents of my "piggy purse" - which you will shortly see in full. I mean, a serious bomb went off in there. Mr. P.'s sweatshirt, and apple, sunglasses, napkins, water bottle and does anyone spot the decapitated alien from Toy Story? don't have a headless alien body in your purse? What's wrong with you?

So, before I get to the bags and bag tutorial I found online, let me start by showing you the fabulous "In-Bag" purse organizers I discovered at the Container Store on Friday. 

The idea is, you put all necessities in this "mini-purse" which looks like a gigantic wallet and then simply transfer this from bag to bag, eliminating clutter and the inability to photograph the insides of your purses without extreme shame and embarrassment!

It fits so nicely!

Now on to the reversible bags....

The pattern hails from one of my favorite blogs: VeryPurplePerson and the link to make the bags is here. And, a few months ago, I had the pleasure of interviewing  Novita from VeryPurplePerson - read it here!

Cars side one
cars side two

I wish I had been a bit more adventurous with the interior fabric time! These bags are the perfect size and they fold up nicely, which makes them great travel bags. 

The first one i made took about two hours and I cut my sewing time in half on the second one. 

Don't you just love the Charlotte's Web inspired fabric on the bag below???

piggy bag side one

piggy bag side two

I can't tell you how many compliments I get on these bags!

And when you're tired of looking at it, just flip it inside out and you have a whole new look!