February 28, 2011


I've been starting to make goals for each month.  It seems that the weeks fly by too quickly and I need to make monthly goals instead.  Actually, what I'm saying there is that I can't get as much done as I always think I can!

I made goals for February ranging from weight loss, crafts to do with the kids, and projects (both home and sewing and knitting) to complete.  So how did I do for February?  Well, good on the weight loss, okay on the projects, and I still have time to do one more craft with the kids.

Now, onto the next month.  One of my goals for March is to get this wallpaper down.  Isn't it hideous?  When we bought the house, I thought, "well wallpaper - that's cosmetic - it can be changed and it's not hard to take down".  I was wrong.  It's so hard to take down.  I have gone through half a spray bottle of Pirahna, a solution to remove wallpaper.  I can't keep the wall wet long enough.  It's a mess and I've torn up the wall quite a bit.  But I'm hoping it will get easier if I learn to be patient and wait until the wall is soaked before I start scraping.

Wish me luck!  I try to do a little each evening while the kids are bathing.  I don't know how to tackle the ceiling.  Crazy I tell you.

February 27, 2011

The Tote

Last week I talked about making a tote for Etame following this quick (20 min) tutorial.  Well, it was quick!  I didn't really need the tutorial for the simplicity of it, but it still was nice to have the dimensions all figured out for me.

I used fabric that I had bought at my favorite local fabric shop, A Fabric Place (truly, that's the name).  I had planned to make a skirt with it but it is more of a canvas material so it works better for a tote anyhow.  The handles I used are actually ties that I kept from a slipcover we had in our old house.  It was nice because it was already hemmed.  Easy.

And of course I sewed "her label" in there because I have like 500 of them.  That was the minimum order when I bought them.

Now she has a new spring tote bag that will fit all her preschool art and papers!

February 25, 2011

Giggly Girl

Tosca is our lively giggly girl.  She laughs often and you can take her out of a cry (almost always) by playing peek-a-boo.

Here's a video of her uncontrollable giggles.   Apparently I couldn't stop laughing too as I was filming.

This one will go into my file of watch-this-when-you-are-feeling-down file.  It will always make me laugh.

February 23, 2011

Popcorn and Hot Chocolate

These two things, popcorn and hot chocolate, have become regular afternoon snacks for us this winter.

I have been forgoing the air popper and instead making each person their own individual bags.  I just cover the bottom of a brown lunch sack with popcorn and fold the top down twice, put it in the microwave and hit the popcorn button.  I don't actually let it go as long as the microwave wants to nuke it for.  Burnt popcorn is the worst.

I spray a little spray butter in there, salt it and then shake and Voila!  A simple afternoon snack.

February 21, 2011


I have been wanting to make some coasters for our house for a few weeks, but then I had a birthday that I wanted to make for (hi Monica) and a birthday that I missed back when I was in the throws of taking care of a newborn (hi Michelle).  Sooo... I ended up making them coasters!

I chose fabrics that I had from my stash.  Ones I thought they each would love.

They were fairly simple to make.  I made them quilted, so they had some absorbency.  First I put cut the fabric 4x4 inches - 10 of them.  Then I cut 5 batting squares, same size.

Stack them up, right to right side and then the batting on top of the stack.  Sew all edges, leaving an opening of about 1 1/2 inches so you have room to turn inside out.

Cut off the corners so the corners when you turn them they lay nicely.

Turn them out using the opening you left and use a knitting needles or bone folder/pointed stick to get the corners square.

Iron and then top stitch along the edge, about 1/8 inch in, tucking under and catching while you sew, the opening you used for turning.

I gained some confidence on the first set and then added ribbon to the edges of the second.  They didn't come out perfect but I still liked the result.  I cut 4 in lengths of ribbon - 4 for each coaster.  Then sandwiched them in between the two pieces of fabric.  Just make sure the decorative part of the ribbon you'd like to show points towards the inside (yeah, I made that mistake at first - oops).

I hope that was somewhat clear.  I guess that's my first tutorial!  Some things are fairly straight forward but nice to have measurements and step-by-steps to follow.  If you are in need of some coasters and try it out, let me know please.  The recipients enjoyed their gifts which is the best part.  I love handmade.

February 19, 2011

Etame's Cards

Here are Etame's Valentine's Day cards for her party.  I got the design from Mer Meg, a lovely blog.

They were super easy to do.  Me, being the procrastinator, finished them in the morning just in time!  I always pledge to next year be more on top of it - we'll see!

It sounds like she had a super fun party day.  Her favorite is always "the pokey pokey" and she is now telling me about some of her friends and the things they talk about and what they like.  Too cute.  Her school and teachers are fantastic and are always doing these amazing crafts.  I really am impressed by their creativeness and attention to the children.

February 17, 2011


I added a couple sidebar sections, for those of you not reading in Google Reader.  (Come out of reader and take a look if you are).  There are three new sections: "knitting..." and "sewing...".  I thought it would be fun to see what projects are one my machine or on my needles at each moment.

Oh I also want to add "reading..." which I will do soon.  I'd like to share what books we are enjoying.  Of course most of these will be kids books because that is what we tend to read about here, although I am starting, "The girl with the dragon tatoo".  Has anyone read that?  There seems to be so much buzz about it and I hear they are filming a movie.  So I thought it must be good.  It's a slow start I have to be honest.  But hopefully it will pick up and be as riveting as the reviews make it out to be.

Able to sleep through anything and crash anywhere...

I'm hoping to make a little tote bag for Etame for school.  Something like this (I will get to Purl NYC someday).  It seems so simple and perfect for her to take along to pre-pre-preschool to hold all her beautiful art she brings home.  I love the Kokka fabric but I'm on a use-your-stash mission so no new buying for me unless I need it.  And I mean need.

Poor Etame.  She has to have her third ear surgery next week.  These tubes have been a nightmare.  I hope it all goes smoothly.  She had a rough day today too.  We went to Trader Joe's and she was hanging on the side of the grocery cart.  Well Tosca was in the carrier up top in the seat part and the whole cart was tipped over to its side, pinning Etame underneath.  Tosca was fine in her "pod" but Etame hurt her hand.  I have to hand it to the Trader Joe people, who always seem friendly anyway.  They got her two fruit leathers, a bag of peas wrapped up in towels for her hand, and lots of attention.  I was traumatized on the other hand.  Completely shaken up with all the attention and worry.  But all is well and she now has a Dora band aid on her and is sleeping soundly.

Well off to sew before another little one wakes up.  Uh oh - too late.

February 16, 2011

THE Quilt!

This quilt or recently waiting-to-be-finished-for-10-years quilt is done!!!!  Yep.  I have been working on this lovely for 10 years, since we were newly married.

Over the course of those 10 years, we started calling it the infamous quilt and I was heckled (hello Amy) for having this long overdue unfinished project.  It has moved with us twice and even traveled cross country last year.

Part of the reason it has taken so long to finish is when I started it (in late 2000) I decided to hand quilt it all.  It's a full size and so hand quilting each stitch meant I carried around a needle, thimble, quilting thread with me whenever I worked on it.  I even took it to the beach last summer and tried to do it while sitting watching the kids.  My friends' children asked if I had a jar of jam since my hand-quilting kit is carried nicely in a jam container.

Well I'm finished and I love the final result!  It's surprisingly still current mostly because of the simplicity and white involved.  Plus, I chose pink for the binding which of course I'm really into right now.  So now I'm busy working on Mr. Penguin (going on 3 years), which is a good knitting project to do in front of the TV.  Stay tuned as it is nearly finished - just a scarf and hat to go!

February 13, 2011

The Derby

Landon had his cub scout Derby race a few weekends ago.  It was a BIG deal.  We didn't realize, or we may have researched a bit more.  Yep, we didn't know you had to put graphite on the axles to make the wheels spin faster and add weight to the car in any way to give it speed down the ramp.

You would think Calvin would know all this, he is an Eagle Scout after all.  But times have probably changed.  He worked with Landon to build this car and it turned out just as Landon wanted.  At the last minute we added some coins as weight.  Foreign coins.  Fitting, since we're such an international family and Calvin travels so often.

The races took all morning and much popcorn and soda were sold I'm sure (to our family).

The cars were all so different and interesting to see and guess at their inspiration.  Landon's "den" is so active, always having tours and outings.  He absolutely loves it.  He may actually be getting a uniform for his birthday.

Onto the next event which is sleeping on a battleship.  I will not be attending, but the "boys" are terribly excited as they should be.

February 10, 2011

Valentine's Day Cards

So each year, Valentine's Day cards kind of sneak up on me.  I think I have more time that I do and that I'll get really ambitious and do something super creative.  But nope.  I always wish I had gone to Rite Aid and purchased a box of perforated valentines.  Well tonight Landon comes home and exclaims happily, "and tomorrow we have to take our Valentine's Day cards to take in".  Oh right.  I had advance warning and still I'm so late and there's no chance I want to go to the store tonight.


To the rescue - the long thread!  She has compiled a list of 35 different online printable sources for different types of Valentine's. Hurray!  We're doing these robots from Cottage Industries.  Unfortunately, I didn't get to the lollipops, which I'm sure will be a sticking point later one (pun intended).  But maybe he won't notice until afterwards?

Happy Valentine's Day!  Hopefully this saved some of you too.  :-)

February 9, 2011

Family Update

Some things as of late:

- I have been so tired I put Cumin on Landon's "Cinnamon" toast.

- 2 out of 3 kids were sick yesterday.  Now 2 out of 3 different kids are sick.  Will we always be on a constant rotation?

- I have only watched the promos of Portlandia on Hulu and it is hilarious and captures the extreme Portland to a T.  "Portland - it's like where people in their 30s go to retire" and "Put a bird on it and call it art".  Love it!

- Am trying different hair styles on Etame and getting much better and quicker.

- Started up Car Seat Traveler again.  I love to talk travel so it suites me well.  Check it out.

- I've been sewing and knitting.  Stay tuned for completed projects (yay!)

- One more month until weekly tennis again. So excited.

- Calvin's taking more responsibility on at work.  Work hours and travel will probably increase (not fun).

Hope all of you are well friends.  It's such a kick when I am getting to know someone and they say they've read our blog!

February 7, 2011

Home Bound Craft Days

Well we had a few home days and filled them up with playing with friends and crafting.  We still have snow covering the ground.  It's pretty but I'm getting tired of the cold and dreary days.  Time for some sun!  And outdoor tennis!

So here's how we spent some of our house bound moments.  First, we danced...

We do a lot of dancing in our house.

Then we danced some more.  In our pj's.  Then I decided we should get some craft on.  So I looked around for what we had and found several spices that were expired or just plain old.

We used them as glitter to create pictures on paper.

We used white glue to make our designs first.  I helped Etame.

Then we sprinkled different spices on the glue.   Etame wasn't actually asking for help from Landon, but apparently he thought she need some.

Then we set them aside to dry and dumped off all the extra spices into a big bowl.


Later, we admired our work.  The smell too.  Funny enough, Landon thought cocoa was the worst smelling spice.

Thanks to my sister for some great ideas on inexpensive home crafts.  It inspired me to look around the house as what we have and use that.  Homemade play dough is also on our list of things to do.  Next snowstorm.