Friday, October 16, 2009

Contemplating Costumes

I've never been one to get very excited about dressing up for Halloween. I can only remember being pumped about dressing up for a couple of my childhood Halloweens. There was one year that I thought it would be great to dress up like a punk rocker in my pre-teen years and let my older sister spike my hair up with Knox Gelatin and then a few other costumes where I wanted to be a hobo (for some reason I chose this costume several times). Once my son came along and his first Halloween approached, I thought I should try being more enthusiastic about celebrating this day with him.

For his first Halloween, we adorned a brown winter bunting of his with a felt tail, converted a paci into some bucked teeth and whiskers and gave him a felt stick to carry so he could be a beaver. It was pretty adorable.

We dressed him as a Mariachi for his second Halloween.

At the time of his third Halloween, he was obsessed with the children's story Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, so he dressed as Mike. It was not much of a costume, and most people didn't know who or what he was. It appears that we're also condoning the use of corn cob pipes by toddlers. Oops.

Now that he's three, I was hoping he would come up with some crazy, imaginative and elaborate costume idea, but that's not exactly the case. For a couple of weeks he said he wanted to be this.

Now he wants to be this.

That's right. A blue letter I.

Friday, October 9, 2009

I Spy Pillow Bags

They're like hot cakes.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Long Weekend

Lately, I've been on a long sewing hiatus. What's worse is that I have a million projects in my head that aren't coming to fruition because I'm not taking the time to sit down in front of the machine. A big part of it is due to the fact that I've been waffling over which one of my five sewing machines to use for my primary machine. The debate is now over and I'm happy to say that I'm back to sewing!

I had a local sewing machine repair man come over to my house and assess my machines, tune them up and lube them. He took on my Bernina 830 Record that wouldn't zig-zag, my Bernina 731 Record that didn't have any problems and my Singer Athena 2000 and put them all in great working condition. I now intend to use these three machines primarily because each has its own strengths and the repair guy reassured me that I'd be very angry with myself if I ever sold any of them. Problem solved.

I decided that I'd sew a project on the Singer Athena 2000 and the Bernina 830 Record this weekend to get a feel for which machine will be the best all around. I love the quiet, smooth feel of the 830, it really can't be beat. But the Singer has some attributes that I didn't know about and now love, too.

Since my boy just started pre-school this week, I felt a back-pack was necessary for his first day of school. I designed and developed my pattern on Friday night and had this completed by Monday. I'm pretty much in love with how it turned out. It was completely sewn on the Athena and this project gave me a chance to try out the zig-zag foot, the zipper foot and the buttonhole foot/1-step buttonhole feature. One thing I love about the Athena is the machine baste stitch. Even my new Brother doesn't have this stitch.

Here's the pack in its entirety. I used piping for the first time and was surprised how easy it turned out.

I added pockets on both sides and pleated them at the bottom, though the pattern design makes it hard to see in the photo.

It has an elastic loop that I salvaged from an old dappi diaper cover and a button that was part of a family friend's campaign to make the Tagua Nut a household name back in the 90's.

The straps close with a simple button closure. Those were I's idea. Its such a simple solution to a problem that I made out to be so huge. When in doubt, ask a three year old.

Here he is on the way to his first day of pre-school (aaacckk!), hand in hand with Daddy, wearing the pack I made him. He made sure to bring Bear and I'm totally happy that his Klean Kanteen fits the outside pockets.

Here's the Bernina Record 830. I really am in love with it. I started a quilting project on this machine, but haven't had a chance to take a photo. Besides, its a gift, so you may not see the picture until its completed and given to its proper recipient.

Oh, and huz and I also used the long weekend to our advantage and crafted together. We tried our hand at making cold-processed soap. This is the old fashioned way of making soap where one mixes oil with sodium hydroxide (lye) and water to produce soap through the chemical reaction called saponification. Fun and dangerous! We didn't get any photos of soap making in process, but we did get a picture of ourselves high-fiving our accomplishment!

Please excuse our grubby clothes. We were working with lye, what can we say?

Here is what the soap looked like once we cut it. For this batch we used a mix of olive oil, rice bran oil and coconut oil . Its dye and fragrance free.

Its now sitting on this drying rack to cure for 4-6 weeks. Anyone willing to be a tester for us?

Friday, August 28, 2009

Spokesladies Represent

A few months ago, my huz and some of his friends started a bike gang. Don't worry, they're really just a mild-mannered group of well-dressed fellows with great intentions of riding their bicycles to work and seeking awesome, cheap restaurants while on their lunch break. They refer to themselves as the Sac Spokesmen.

I'm not sure how it started, but at some point they decided it would be fun to do a "monthly" cover song challenge where they select one song and all create their own versions of it. Each man's cover song is kept on the down low until a specified date that usually involves a listening party. Being that us wives of the Spokesmen are subjected to listening to said song in its original and covered versions at least a thousand times before the song gets submitted, we ladies decided that we should have a say in the song selection process. Apparently, many of the members of the Spokesmen hemmed and hawed about the wives choosing songs and perhaps broke into cold sweats imagining what horrible song we could dream up for them to cover. I don't know why they would think we'd pick something awful. We all have fabulous ears for music and only listen to the finest. That being said, its ladies choice for Cover Song Challenge # _ (Six I think).

I've asked that the Spokeswives, or Spokesladies, submit their song rankings here in the comment section of my blog as anonymous comments. Each lady will post the twelve songs that we chose among ourselves (three songs each) and rank them from 1-12 with the first choice having the heaviest weight of 12 and the last choice having a weight of one. The song that gets the most points will be selected as the winner and our guys will have whatever amount of time they determine to finish it off and submit it. Then we all get to listen and party together! Did I mention the fact that we all have adorable kids around the same age that all play together so well, too? It really is great fun to attend and host these listening parties!

Update: There was some disagreement on the method of rating the songs for this challenge. I think the popular consensus is to rate the songs as a 1-5, instead of weighting them 1-12. The song with the highest rating is the winner.

.....and the winner is...... The Postal Service- Brooklyn Blues!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


This was a gift for my little neighbor who turned two last weekend. She has a cat named Tomato and he was the inspiration for this project.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Green Smoothie Challenge

About two months ago, my friend Niki challenged me to the Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred exercise program. Since I love challenges and really needed a push to start working out regularly after healing up from a running injury, I accepted the challenge. I weighed myself and took my measurements and endured pain that I haven't experienced since birthing a child. I finished the challenge, proud that I hadn't missed a day at all. I lost a small amount in inches all over, but the scale never changed. That was a bit depressing, but I was also encouraged to stick with it. That was almost 60 Days ago and I'm still at it, 6 days a week. Pretty good, huh?

I decided that it was my turn to set forth a new challenge on Niki, so I asked her if she would like to participate in the 14 Day Green Smoothie Challenge. Maybe it was payback, but I thought it couldn't do us the same type of bodily harm that the first few days of the shred imposed on us. I finished this challenge and didn't miss a day, either. What a gal! I also went ahead and made it a habit, too.

This morning, I came up with a wild concoction that actually turned out pretty good. Yeah, it probably sounds truly disgusting to those of you who haven't tried a green smoothie, so let me assure you that you cannot taste the greens. I promise.

Chocolate-Peanut Butter-Banana Green Smoothie

2 Cups Filtered Water
3 Huge Handfuls Baby Spinach
One ripe Kiwi Fruit
A small handful Blueberries
1 Tbsp. Raw Cocoa Powder
1 spoonful Natural Peanut Butter
2 Bananas
Squeeze of Agave Nectar

Put it all in your blender and process until smooth.

Makes a little more than 32 oz. and will fill you up until lunchtime.

Here's what's cookin'

Yesterday, while I was trying to figure out what the boy wanted for lunch, I decided to see what he might want instead of me deciding for him. He informed me that he did not want lunch, nor did he want a snack, but wanted dinner instead. Okay. What do you want for dinner? He smiled and said, "Torvacabacbac." I asked him how to make it and he kindly shared the recipe with me, which I, in turn, will do for you.



1 Tbsp. Sugar
A lot of chocolate
4 Bears
3 Rocks
3 Hairs

Mix it and put it in a pretty hot oven.

Serves One Boy

So, there you have it. If you make it, please comment on how it turned out.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Salsa Verde o Salsa Purpura?

What do you call salsa verde made with purple tomatillos? Will the salsa actually turn out purple?

Update: The salsa turned out morada, or purpura, and darkened with age. It also had a mellower, sweeter undertone than the usual salsa made with green tomatillos. Rad! So, those of you who guessed purple, you were right!

Here is what it looked like while it was still a little warm.

And here it is a day later and a little more purple.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Not owning up to my part of the deal.

I haven't been good about updating this blog. Both nortagemdar and eastwest have been living up to their part of the deal, now its time for me to try to get serious.

Here's what I've been up to since I last posted.

I made a baby congratulations gift for my new little niece or nephew to be. Its a burp cloth and cloth shoe set, with a wind up toy for the wee one. This was the first project I completed on my new Bernina 731 and that machine is amazing! The shoes and burp cloths were made from a Beatrix Potter-esque cotton fabric and coordinating flannel. I chose mint green and brown for a neutral palette.

The burp cloths were designed with a little curve to fit nicely around the neck and serged all around. I'm hoping my sister will give me feedback on these and if they are great, I'll put them in the shop.

Oh, I also made that same sister a corn snuggl-ee bag to help her with pregnancy aches and pains.

A new super-blender happened to make its way into my life, too. Its a Blendtec Total Blender, a more affordable competitor to the famous Vita-mix Blender.

I've been making bread from home milled whole wheat, tortillas and green smoothies every day.

I've also been lucky enough to get to watch my boy's art skills blossom.

The garden has also been keeping me busy.

(lettuce flowers in bloom)

I wasn't too busy to squeeze in a nap with my buddy, though.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Want to Win a Free Diaper and Soft Soled Shoes?

My friend Vilate over at Vilate's Nifty Nook has teamed up with Jamie from Little Jumping Beans to give you the opportunity to win an adorable set of handmade goodies for a sweet little baby. Check out Vilate's blog for more information about the giveaway. Here is what you could win:

Aren't they sweet? Now hurry and go enter! The deadline for entering the contest is August 2nd!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

R is for Rant #1

I've decided to designate Thursday (R) for my rant day. This may become a trend, since I oftentimes come across products that aren't quite up to par with my standards and I need to blow off steam. I love sending a good complaint letter to companies that make crap products and such, but I also love sending a nice praise letter, too.

For this week, I've got two bones to pick and the recipients of my frustration will most likely be seeing some sort of correspondence from me. What's a bored SAHM supposed to do during nap time? Tops on my list this week is the City of Sacramento Parks and Recreation District. For starters, they've closed or shortened the hours of many of the public pools due to budget cuts. It gets hot here and when the sun is blazing and I want to hop in a pool, I don't want to wait until 3-5 pm on odd days of the week. Worse yet, boy is usually napping during prime pool time. They've also closed down the restrooms in most of the parks. But I digress. The point that's really bugging me this week is their restroom cleaning techniques. Today, I visited one of the two parks left in Sacramento with open restrooms. While I feel like I should be happy to have visited an available restroom that was clean, I'm sitting here blogging about my frustration. It takes all kinds I guess. Actually, the restroom was, to my surprise, sparkling clean (if there were enough light in there to see it) and reeked of bleach. I could tell in the darkness that the floor was wet, but I figured it had just been hosed out and the toilets cleaned with bleach. I had boy with me and convinced him to give the potty a try. Being that he's three years old, he's got definite opinions and a process for each and every time he uses the restroom. One of those opinions is that his pants must be pulled down to his ankles every time he goes. No exceptions. So, I always oblige because its enough of a fight to get him to use the toilet as it is. Now, we've walked out of this same restroom many times with him having a wet hem around his pants (which totally makes me cringe) from the chronically wet floor in that place and today was no exception. Flash forward ten minutes to him playing in the sandbox and I notice that his pants were totally bleach stained around the bottom. So, the City is cleaning the floors with straight bleach and not even rinsing it away. Who does this? Yes, I know, besides the City of Sacramento? I was lucky enough to run into a maintenance person who had little advice for me and told me he was the guy I needed to talk to. Okay. Nothing doing. Now, I've got to figure out how to deal with this:

My next beef is with Pur water filters. I have such a love/ hate relationship with Pur, its almost parasitic. I need them, but I don't think they need me. Their product is shoddy and cheaply made, but I can't live without it. I believe I'm on my fourth faucet mount filter in less than 10 years. To some, that may be acceptable, but if I spend $50 on a product, I want it to last a more than two years. My faucet mount filters keep breaking around the faucet mount and leak all over the place. Usually, it just leaks unfiltered tap water into my tap water, completely defeating the purpose of filtering water. This time its spraying water all over the place. I've had this complaint with Proctor and Gamble's Pur division before and, believe it or not, they sent me a voucher to replace my entire faucet mount with any model I wanted. Of course, I chose the most expensive stainless steel look unit. Less than two years later, its doing the same thing my last one did.

Hopefully, they'll be as generous with a replacement this time.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A Post a Week. That's all we ask.

A couple of my favorite friends and I have vowed to challenge (its not exactly a challenge, but I'm highly motivated by them so I'll call it that) each other to update our blogs at least once a week. So, here goes for this week!

I've felt like quite a lucky girl this week and it just keeps getting better.

To begin with, I received a few gift cards for my birthday and huz let me spend a little extra to get these books.

I really wasn't intending to buy a book that consists only of sweets, but The Vegan Scoop really got me. It has beautiful photographs that made me crave ice cream like I never have! Here's a shot of some butterscotch ice cream I made on Sunday.

Isaac was so bowled over by it, that he had the cutest giggle attack I've ever seen from him.

I also made a shirt for myself.

Its Simplicity 2931, view C. Ignore my clashing outfit. I'm not sure I'm actually in love with this shirt and its going to take a big dose of humble pie and bravery to wear this thing out of the house. I love the fabric, but I don't think its the blouse for me. Additionally, since I've been shredding every morning for the past 28 days, I think I want something that hugs my curves a little more to show that I'm not just getting up at the crack of daylight and shocking my body with jump plies for nothing.

I also added a few things to my etsy!

Finally, my dream for a Bernina sewing machine may be coming true. I'm off to go look at one of these avocado beauties in a few minutes. My next post may be the story of how I finally made the leap to divorce my Brother sewing machine.