Pom Pom Obsession

IMG_8330It has been a long while since I have had the opportunity to go back to what started my whole blog, which was making baby hats!  I was thrilled at the chance to make another hat when I found out that one of my co-workers is expecting his first child, a sweet baby girl.

I’m really liking the look of a beautifully knit, simple baby hat, and I have been wanting to try a very large pom-pom as a surprising element in the proportions of the hat.  I opted to go for a very simple alternating striped hat as the base: classic and timeless.  I then added an oversized pom-pom to the top as a surprising and bold element to an otherwise conventional pattern.

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I must say, when I finished the hat I thought “perfect!”. Then I finished the pom-pom and thought “woah, that’s big!”  I had to giggle a little because I was so incredibly excited about the success of the pom-pom!  After I made this hat, my daughters both found it and immediately tried to squeeze their large noggins into a newborn baby hat!  Then they made me promise to make them their own hats, so I guess I got more than I bargained for!  Anyways, I couldn’t be more excited for my co-worker and hope that this hat will keep his new daughter cozy and warm as this cold weather sets in!

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A 3rd Birthday for Baby

I guess I shouldnt call her a baby anymore as she just turned three, but I can’t help it! I still see remnants of her baby fat and chubby cheeks and yet she’s old enough to ask for a Belle-themed birthday party!  It’s bittersweet for sure.

I figured since this was her first real birthday party, we could have some of her close friends over and have a small, intimate party.  The challenge with daycare and commuting is that my schedule never overlaps other parents so while my daughter talks about her friends, I never have occasion to have my path cross with any of her friends parents.  Birthday parties are really a good way to remedy that.

I don’t know where my daughter got an idea for a Belle birthday party, but she wanted it.  I’m not a big fan of character parties so I was trying to think of the best way to accomplish this theme without having Disney paraphernalia everywhere.  I settled on a subtle Belle theme using yellow, gold and white with cupcakes alluding to the movie.

I found this cute cupcake idea on pinterst.  Unfortunately, the Wilton roses that were recommended for this cupcake had reviews that all agreed they tasted terrible.  I was talking to my mom on the phone about this one day and she decided she wanted to make icing roses for the cupcakes and FedEx then to me! Amazing!  I made a simple lemon cupcake recipe with a the buttercream frosting I have blogged about before.

For decorations, I stuck to a simple color scheme of white and gold throughout.  I think it turned out very nice and the kids had a great time!  In my next post I’ll talk about the craft all the kiddies got to make.  Until then, a very happy birthday to my littlest munchkin!

Zentangle Bowls

I have these legacy bowls from college that are perfectly serviceable and durable, but they are definitely not my style and I am desperately waiting for them to “break” (they never will, they’re indestructible….. ) so that I can finally have an excuse to buy some fun new table settings.  I have been coveting sets of bowls that have mis-matched prints in bold colors or bold patterns.  Some that I especially liked are below:

Aren’t these just adorable?  I want some so badly, but I cannot bring myself to dispose of perfectly practical (and unbreakable) bowls.  Well, fortunately (or not) my husband accidentally broke a bowl, which, unfortunately, happened NOT to be one of the oh-so-despised bowls that I would rather it have been.  However, this did give me an excuse to get a new bowl.  I thought it may be fun to test out an idea that I had while planning the craft for my eldest daughter’s birthday party.  Why couldn’t I make something?  I have all these glazed sharpie pens.

I was prompted to find something to do when my daughter suddenly got sick and had to stay at home for three days.  In desperation, I went to Target with her and got two bowls for us to decorate.  For my bowl, I thought it would be fun to do a Zentangle-inspired, or Mandala-inspired design.  For those of you not familiar with Zentangle or Mandala art, it’s some images are below:

 

I learned from the party craft that I should try to avoid the actual eating surface because the washing would eventually cause the pattern to wear over time.  So, I had a plan, kind of.  This is what happened:

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My daughter helped with some of the simpler patterns, such as the large yellow dots.  She was really impressed with how long this took me to draw (it wasn’t that long, but to a 5-year old, it was “FOREVER”).  I’m looking forward to getting a couple more bowls to complete a set – all different patterns of course!  What do you think?

Portrait

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When my first daughter was just becoming interested in learning to color, I would sit with her each day and draw. I would draw things like her stuffed animals, house and most of all, I loved to draw her. I would often stare at her, mesmerized that she was created inside of me; this perfect, innocent little being full of life and wonder. I memorized her features,  each nuance of her face,  and I loved to express it in drawings of her with her stuffed dolls.  I had posted something a while ago here.

With my second,  I find less time to sit with my daughters to draw and pass the time.  While I have spent no less time gazing at my youngest and memorizing her every feature,  I fear I have not been as up to the task of drawing with her and for her. I wanted to try my hand at and see if I could represent her the way I had her eldest sister,  so I decided I would draw a portrait of her. I thought it would be a good little exercise to get me back into this habit.

I admit I cheated a little by taking a photo of her while she was napping. My eldest has always had a great propensity for solo activities such as reading,  drawing,  or playing make- believe.  My youngest, on the other hand,  doesn’t have the capacity to sit still longer than one minute.

I used regular drawing paper and a princess pencil I took from my daughter’s art bin. Here is the result:

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The Second is 2!

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So it’s happened.  My baby turned two.  When did this happen?  I can hardly believe that time has flown so quickly!  I don’t know if it’s because I’m so tired these days or if life is just too full of things to do, but having to even consider planning a birthday party for my daughter seemed beyond me at this point.  Planning playdates for two children seems to so difficult and this seems to be one of my shortcoming as a parent.  I look for the easy playdate where friends have more than one kid so that all the children can keep each other occupied.  Is that terrible of me?  Don’t lie, I’m sure I’m not the only one!

I am glad to say that my second daughter is quite gregarious and will run around to almost everyone after she has acclimated and flirt outrageously with them.  For this I am very grateful that she finds her happiness instead of having to have someone define it for her.

Well, I may not have planned a big party for her, but I did get my act together enough to make her cupcakes to bring to school as well as have a small gathering with family to celebrate.  For her cupcakes, I opted to make a lemon cupcake with a lemon buttercream frosting.  I have made these before for my first daughter’s first birthday, noted here.  However, instead of mini-cupcakes, I opted for large ones.  The recipe will make about 16 large cupcakes.  I used the buttercream frosting here and added half a lemon with half a lemon’s zest.  It turned out quite nice, if I do say so myself!  I also opted to use a pre-made candy flower by Wilton’s, which I got from Michael’s.

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When my eldest daughter learned that I was going to be making cupcakes she insisted on helping.  It was quite hilarious how she helped me with the icing.  For every cupcake iced and flower she placed, she would then help herself to a small taste of icing.  And with each taste, she would exclaim “I love helping you make cupcakes mommy!  Mmmm!!!”  What a comedian!  Although, I must say, she was surprisingly exact in measuring the perfect amount of batter needed for cupcakes.  I may have to employ her services in the future.  Haha!

Anyways, the cupcakes were quite delicious and my youngest daughter was quite enthusiastic about the blowing out of the candles.  She actually blew the candle out too quickly the first time, requiring us to re-light them before we finished singing happy birthday.  And, she was singing happy birthday to herself for about 3 weeks straight. What a great age this is, toddlers are like little comedians!  Happy birthday my wonderful, funny, intelligent and daring girl!

Label Love

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You never really realize how much stuff you accumulate with kids until they take everything out of its hiding place and you see everything strewn all over the floor  This is only exacerbated in a larger space because the items get spread all over the house across multiple rooms and it is up to you to pick up the pieces, put the all together in the right games/ kits/ puzzles/ etc. and then put them all back in their proper place.  Something that I realized very early on was the need for some sort of storage bins to organize everything.

Since I’m slowly figuring things out, I didn’t want to splurge on really nice bins or anything.  I found these really cheap but serviceable plastic bins in the $1 section at Target that would do the trick.  Once I got them and started to place the various toys in bins, I quickly realized I was going to need some sort of labeling system so that not only I, but my husband and the kids, would remember what goes where.

I am really interested in typography and the various different methods of representing information.  Variations on how you write the message with color font, size, shape and pattern, will ultimately influence the user on what they are understanding.

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I thought it would be fun to try my hand at whimsical typography for labeling these bins. I wanted to have a visual shape to the words, so that my kids can recognize what goes where since they are still too young to read.  I think the most difficult part for me was how to categorize the various bins, especially the “general crap” bin.  How do you distill that into one word that isn’t “crap”?  Well, I got through it eventually, although it took me longer than I would care to admit to finish all of the labels!  Here are images of some of the tags I created.  I got some craft scissors I wanted to try out so I decided to use them for the borders of the labels, but I’m not sold on it yet.  I may end up cutting it down to a straight rectangle.  We’ll see how I feel in a couple months…. What do you think?

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Happy V-day 2016

 

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Cookies decorated by my almost-5-year-old daughter

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!  I don’t usually celebrate this holiday, but since this is coupled with President’s day as a 3-day week-end, as well as the weather being unbelievably frigid, I was looking for indoor activities that would keep two active young kids occupied and engaged.

My eldest daughter L.O.V.E.S. baking and decorating cookies.  Ever since she was almost 2, she’s been helping out with baking in the kitchen or helping to decorate cookies for this occasion or that occasion.  I have been a little bad about keeping up with baking lately so I figured I owed it to her to give her a decent baking and decorating session.  If the little one wanted to join, so much the better.

After my visit home last summer, I mentioned to my mom how I was envious of her great cookie-cutter collection.  She immediately told me that it was mine for the taking, which thrilled me to pieces!  She packed it all into a box and mailed it to me and it was better than Christmas when they arrived!  My eldest daughter was SO excited she immediately started making plans of all the different cookies she was going to make.  I think she was a bit disappointed when I packed them away and then forgot to make any cookies for the Christmas holidays.  Oops.  So this was my chance at redemption!

It’s so crazy to think that my daughter is almost 5 years old.  She can roll out dough, cut out cookies and ice them (kind of) and decorate them all by herself!  It’s amazing when I think back to the first time she decorated cookies and what a mess it was.  Not that this wasn’t a mess as well, but in a different way.  Maybe I’m lucky the youngest wasn’t interested in making or decorating cookies!

I used a simple sugar cookie recipe I found from Epicurious, which I have used in the past and it works beautifully as it issimple in method and number of ingredients.  I would highly recommend it as they are simple, yet tasty.  I would, however, note that you likely only need half of the icing recipe that goes with this as you will have too much left over.

May you be surrounded by love and happiness (and warmth) today.  Happy Valentines everyone!