Monday, April 30, 2012

monday menu

[hot oatmeal with brown sugar, raisins, and cream]

Well, last week ended up being unexpectedly crazy, and following my menu plan took the back burner. If nothing else, it'll make this week's menu planning a lot easier since I'll just make some of the meals that I didn't get to over the last couple of weeks.

M-roasted chicken. orzo with parmesan and basil, and roasted brocolli (based on this recipe)
T-barbecued pulled chicken sandwiches with left over salad and coleslaw
W-waffles and fruit
Th-black bean tacos with corn salsa (no, I still haven't gotten to these)
F-grilled steak, green beans, and mashed potatoes
S-chicken pot pie

What are you making this week?

Saturday, April 28, 2012

magnificently derailed

Well, my work on KCWC was magnificently derailed by a few full days of appointments, parties, migraines, and spontaneous opportunities.  Not to worry, though, I will complete the rest of the projects I have planned, I'll just use the term "week" to loosely refer to seven non-consecutive days.

In the meantime, however, Jennifer's color your world challenge caught my eye.  Since I love color, and since the very first challenge is all about green (my absolute favorite of all the colors I adore!) I couldn't resist.  And since my contribution to the color challenge is "due" in just one week, I jumped right in with an uncharacteristically messy piece.

Here is just a sneak peak.  More next week...

Check out more studio sneak peeks here.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

KCWC day two: groovy pants for Little Man

I gave Little man the choice between two fabrics from my stash for his mama-made pants: blue cordury and brown and orange stripes.  Of course he chose brown and orange stripes which resulted in an amazing pair of pants that can best be described by the word groovy.

Don't be fooled, while the double knee patch looks cool, it's a detail designed not for style but for practicality.  Little Man wears holes in the knees of his pants like there's no tomorrow. This simple addition to his pants should quadruple the amount of wear he gets out of them.  When the first layer wears through, I'll just use my handy seam ripper to remove it.  I'll repeat the process when the second knee patch wears through.  When the pants themselves wear through, I'll sew on a cute dinosaur or train patch, and when that wears through, well the rest of the pants will probably also have worn out as well. Ha.

There are several things I'm particularly proud about these pants. First, I used a double needle for the top stitching.  I'm honestly shocked at how ridiculously easy it actually is.  Second, I'm so happy with how the stripes lined up!  It's not perfect, but it's close enough to make me beam. (Shhh...the ones in the photo are the very best ones in the whole pair of pants.)  Also, after reading a couple of good tutorials, I drafted my own pattern for them! Last but certainly not least, Little Man not only looks adorable in them, he also loves them!

[Brother is still wearing his new pants today too. Such a compliment!]

Monday, April 23, 2012

KCWC day 1: corduroy pants for Brother

Since I don't have too much on my plate as far as projects go right now, I thought I'd join in Elsie Marley's KCWC (Kids Clothing Week Challenge: A challenge to work on children's clothes for at least an hour a day for one week).  Today I made some pants for Brother.

Brother would live in pajama pants if I let him.  Most of the time I do let him wear pajama pants, but there are times that I want him to look just a littler spiffier than that, and I force him to wear jeans or khakis.  I asked him recently why he doesn't like jeans, and he responded: "Umm...Because they make my skin hurt."  I suspect that the fact that they are hard to get into by himself also make jeans less appealing to my independent little guy.

So I decided to try to make a pair of pants that would be durable, cute, comfortable, and easy to put on.  I used materials I had on hand: green and orange corduroy that I picked up for a song at our local Bargain Basement plus some thread and elastic from my stash.

I based my design on Dana's kid pants with a flat front tutorial/pattern.  I added a band of super-soft knit fabric from an old t-shirt on the inside to encase the elastic, protecting his skin from being rubbed raw by tough corduroy seams.

So far they seem to be a success.  Brother put them on immediately and delightedly, posed for pictures without complaint, and has been wearing them ever since.

monday menu

(about one third as spicy as it's supposed to be)

We have made astonishing progress through out bountiful basket fruits but are still plodding our way through the vegetables.  I've been having an especially hard time using up the squash--none of us really hate it, but none of us really love it either.  Anyway, this is what I'm planning to make this week.

S (we're having company this week, so I actually planned it into the menu)-roasted chicken (I'm making extra so we'll have left over meat to use through the rest of the week, orzo with parmesan and basil, and green salad
W-french toast and fruit
Th-pasta with red sauce and yellow squash casserole
F-chicken pot pie

What are you making this week?

Friday, April 20, 2012

already trying to keep up with her big brother

When Little Man was painting last week
Sweet Pea squawked at me until I put her in her booster seat 
and gave her a paintbrush.

She was happy as could be,
intently studying that paintbrush from every angle.

When she got tired of just the paintbrush,
I dipped it in some water and gave her a piece of paper.

The world is an intriguing and exciting place!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Little Man's recent art

Up until recently Little Man has been master of abstract art.
I even taught him to say "it's abstract"
when asked what his paintings were.
(So cute.)

Last week, though, he surprised me
with a whole series of decidedly un-abstract art.
The following are some of his mixed media pieces.
(paint and marker on paper)

"just weird creatures"

"a big daddy hippopotamus"

mama and baby hippopotamus
surrounded by grass, rainbow, and flying birds

of course he had to make at least one abstract piece
"all sorts of stuff"
(we were experimenting with different ways of applying the paint:
q-tips, sponges, toothpicks, and cotton balls)

"a lion lying down"

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

april photo challenge

Here is my April installment of the Project MCP photo challenge.
Challenge #1-Illustrate the following in a photo: Showers/Wet

This one really was a challenge because during the week I was supposed to be shooting showers/wet, the only weather we had was brilliant sunshine and fluffy snow.   Finally I resorted to walking around the house with a spray bottle misting stuff and taking photos.  The top leaf one turned out exactly like I wanted it to and was even featured in the April challenge #1 highlights!  The bottom one was actually shot in color but turned out looking black and white which I thought was pretty cool.

Challenge #2-Take a picture using a shallow depth of field.

Not my best work ever, but I just love that I managed to capture Little Man's precious hands in action.

Challenge #3-Interpret the following in a photo: Blooming

Bloom. n.  A condition or time of vigor, freshness, and beauty; prime.  Once again, it was snowy out, so my creativity was stretched.

Challenge #4-Get low. Lie down on the ground and shoot above

I really did lie down on the staircase at our local college to capture this one.  I love how the lines and focus turned out.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

graduation portraits

I recently had the privilege of taking a series of portraits for one of my local acquaintances in honor of her college graduation.  We had fun wandering around the main hall of the college, taking photos as we went, and we even took a few outside in the snowy grounds.

This is a bit of an embarrassing confession, but even though I've had my nice camera for over two years I only really started to take it off the comfortable auto setting within the last couple of months.  I've been pushing myself pretty hard to stop relying on it.

It's been a steep learning curve.  Fewer photos turn out acceptably. I have a hard time remembering to take the time to stop and think about what I'm doing, resulting in discouraging poorly-lit, badly focused photos.  The photos that do turn out well, though, are enough better than the ones taken on auto that I'm motivated to keep plugging on.  Live and learn, right?

Monday, April 16, 2012

monday menu

[I love how thinly sliced citrus becomes translucent.]

Last week I made and picked up (well, my parents picked up on my behalf because I wasn't able to make it to the pick up location) our first bountiful baskets order.  I am thrilled with the quantity and quality of the produce we received and am excited to see how having such a great supply of surprise fruits and vegetables to use every two weeks affects our diets.

M-simple summer vegetable stir fry over rice
T-black bean tacos with fresh corn salsa (this is a new recipe)
W-tuna melt sandwiches (didn't get to them last week) and fruit
Th-macaroni and cheese and steamed brussels sprouts
F-coconut curry with cauliflower, carrots, and chickpeas over rice (another new recipe!)

What are some of your favorite vegetable-heavy meals?

Saturday, April 14, 2012

eight months

Last Saturday was my little Sweet Pea's eight month birthday.
While she is growing and changing all too quickly,
she's still the same sweet little person we first met not that long ago.
I am enjoying watching her develop.

Right now Sweet Pea:

hyperventilates when she sees someone she loves
babbles long strings of syllables (i.e. da-da-da-da-baba-da)
calls "Ma-ma" or (more often) "Maaa!"when she's distressed
really screams the infrequent times that she gets worked up
has the most contagious laugh
sings in a breathy, sweet voice

waves her arms and grins when she's excited
seems to be trying to clap
loves splashing in the bath
(she doesn't even mind getting her face wet)
sits on her own very well
scoots herself short distances on her bottom while sitting up
rolls around on the floor
picks up tiny objects from the carpet and attempts to eat them
doesn't seem to have a favorite toy
most definitely wants to keep up with her brothers

is eating three baby food meals a day
loves experimenting with finger foods
(so far she's had cheerios, tiny pieces of bread, and sweet potato)
is sleeping better at night again
takes two or three naps most days
still loves to snuggle

has very pretty eyes
(are the green? grey? brown? we don't know yet)
has medium dark brown hair coming in
and two colliding cowlicks on the back of her head
that make it look like she has a tiny faux-hawk
is too skinny for 9-12 month pants but too long for 6-9 month pants

She brings sunshine and delight into our lives every day.

Friday, April 13, 2012

baby gift

One of my best girlfriends had a baby at the beginning of March.
She and her husband have a tiny home,
so as much as I wanted to go all out on a gift for their sweet little girl,
I had to restrain myself to a few small gifts.

This set of gifts is definitely less coordinated than my usual:
one of the sunray baby toys I made before Christmas
and three girly flower clips along with a soft, white headband

However small and mismatched these gifts may be, though,
a lot of love when into them.
I think they are small enough and practical enough
to not be a burden,
plus they really did turn out pretty cute.
I'm pleased.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

flower clips

Remember my fabric flower pins?
Well, my crafty ADD has brought me 'round
to making fabric flowers again.

I've been attaching them to clips this time.

The clips can be used as they are for long hair
or clipped onto a store bought headband for little ones with no hair.

Too fun and oh, so girly.