January 24, 2012

Craft Station

At Etame's preschool conference last week, her teacher suggested we make a craft station for her to have her own coloring area.  She then described how she used little trays for her daughter and friends for portable crafting.  So, I took this tray that we were going to throw out (from IKEA) and I picked up two little galvanized buckets from IKEA on my latest trip, and created this:

It was a big challenging to affix the buckets to the tray.  I tried hot glue but it didn't take.  So I ended up drilling through the bucket and tray and putting a bolt through the center.

The bolts stuck out a bit on the under side, so I used the Dremel tool with the metal circular cutter attachment to saw them off.  A hack saw would probably work too.  I gave it a couple coats of turquoise spray paint and it was done.

Etame was able to try it out right away since she had "homework".  She was beyond excited for this homework, mind you.  Landon looked at her like she was crazy when she exclaimed, "I have homework!' so happily.

She carried her new tray over to the table and colored her mask for her homework.  She loves all things school related.  Loves her friends, her teacher, and the independence of it all.

January 20, 2012


Remember these Wingback chairs from way back when?  Here's just one of them.  I bought them off of Craigslist a few years ago with the intention of reupholstering them someday.  Well they intimidated me for long enough until one day I came across Miss Mustard Seed's ideas on slipcovers and she has a great tutorial on it too.  I followed the videos step by step.

Until eventually I was finished!  As she suggested, I used drop cloths for the fabric.  Cheap and easy to work with.

The second one went much easier...

Probably because my confidence was higher.  They're loose but that's okay.  I like them comfy looking.  The piping made this project a little more challenging but it was worth it to get more definition on the curves.

I ran a strip of sew-on Velcro down the back to keep them closed.  I didn't care for the look of bows so this works just right for me - nice and clean.  Also, I didn't bleach the drop cloth like I've seen suggested.  I like the nubby, linen-look to them.

Oh, and the pillows were made with fabric from IKEA.  Sadly our IKEA doesn't carry fabric any longer (that was short-lived).  I followed Erin's hidden zipper pillowcase tutorial - a very nice tutorial as well.

January 16, 2012

Roadtrip to Maine

We went up to Maine for Thanksgiving.  It took us two days to get up there.  On the way home we busted it in one very long day.

On the way, we stopped in Freeport, home to LL Bean.  Calvin has known a couple people to work there that came to Under Armour.  I can see why people would like living there.  Nice people.  Beautiful area.  Small town.  Oh, and the giant Christmas tree they had strung with lights in the courtyard of their flagship store.

See?  Big.

We bought a lobster pillow at their home store and quite a few things at the outlet stores across the street.  The attractions for kids and the chance to run around makes it a good break/stop.

Close-up look at the fish!

After staying the night in Portland and then stopping in Freeport for lunch, we got into Bar Harbor around 3pm.  Super cold up on the mountain.  I can't remember the name of this lookout now but it had panoramic views of the ocean and land.  The wind was so cold we could hardly stand getting out of the car.

Overlooking Bar Harbor...

Finally... the cottage.  Or "the college" as Etame keeps calling it.  People probably think we went on a very educational family trip.

We rented it off of VRBO.  The couple that own it actually live next door but were gone for Thanksgiving so we saw them only a couple days.  It felt so remote and relaxing there - nearly too relaxing for me.  I had to schedule a tennis lesson and went to Wal Mart in the neighboring city for the post-Thanksgiving sales just to get out.

January 15, 2012

New Dresses for the Girls

I made new MATCHING dresses for the girls!  This is a first for matching outfits.  They both look quite differently in them in fact.  But so fun.

The pattern is from one of my Japanese sewing books, which made it extra challenging.  The pattern pieces and diagrams (for the order of the steps) are really all you need, since they are pretty simple garments.  The tricky part is getting the correct seam allowances since the patterns don't include them.

No it's not summer here.  These dresses will be for warmer weather for sure.

Hey!  It's the bus!  Landon's here!

January 12, 2012


So Tosca is changing daily it seems, learning new sounds (not really words yet) and trying to jump and she's running all around.

Home from a recent trip to IKEA, I opened the door to get her out and was alarmed to see her like this:

But then I remembered the chocolate I gave her as we got into the car.  Sweet munchkin.  Etame has taken to telling people her name is "Tosca Bosca Boo" which is our nickname for her of course.  Who would name their child a rhyme?  Funny thought though.

We also call her our clumsy elf and shnookernoodle, in case you're curious.  Also, I've taken the liberty of changing the words to "You are my Sunshine".  A couple lines actually bother me in it, although I love the song and have sung it to all my kids.  "... my only sunshine" and "please don't take my sunshine away".  The first because I have three sunshines, and the second because I imagine women long ago singing it as a pleading because of the high infant mortality rate.  Sad.  So I changed it to:

You are my Sunshine, my Little Sunshine
You make me happy when skies are grey
You'll never know dear how much I love you
Oh please shine on me every day

Just suits me better and makes me feel good.  Love this sunshine...

January 9, 2012

Halloween 2011

So I'm a little late posting photos.  Just imagine the kids slightly older now.  More mature, reading Shakespeare, ha!

Here's Tosca in her elephant costume.  Cecile came through for me right before Halloween giving me this costume and the pumpkin one for Etame...

She likes to roll around on the ground, usually wrestling with her older brother.

One of the best parts of Landon's school is this simple costume parade they do by grade level and then they meet on the tennis courts, parents following and sing "witches brew" and some other songs and dances.  Tradition.  I like all sorts of traditions. 

So this was the first year I let him be something scary.  I had him worried he would scare the kindergarteners so he took off his mask frequently.  Or it was just itchy inside. 

The sweet little pumpkin Etame.  Love the scary werewolf behind her.  No idea of that until I saw this picture later.

Tosca, getting ready to ride the wagon round the neighborhood to pick up all the candy...

January 8, 2012

Christmas 2011

Our Christmas was fairly calm and quiet.  We enjoyed staying inside and playing with all our new presents.

Waiting to go downstairs...

Tosca's the best poser. She thinks she's the star anytime there's a camera around...

Seeing what Santa brought...

 Makeup!  Applied approximately 16 times on Christmas day...

A doll house!  Taken over by knights when Etame went down for nap...

The modern doll house came complete with furniture and a family.  The knights are no longer residents in the house.  

It was a special Christmas, with thoughts of family far away and hoping we'll get to see them more this year.  Hope you had a special Christmas.  Happy New Year!  Looking forward to sharing more crafts and house projects this year with all of you.