Monday, January 31, 2011


As you know I have two girls.

10 years apart.
So saving "hand-me-downs" for 10 years seems a little bit well, long.
I have done it. But, did you realize that even toddler
clothing gets dated after 10 years, colors, and styles.

So I have decided to do some upcycling.
The blouse below was from Mini-Boden, youth large.

I cut off the top.
Removed the straps, took in the bodice,
gathered and reattached the skirt.

The result a new sundress for Ellie!

The second project.
Another blouse this one from Target.
This top was a little too short to reconstruct into a dress.
So a skirt it is!!

We will see what is next!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Organizing - Purging Free!

I have been organizing and purging!
We have been in our house 11 years this weekend!
Wow! Where does the time go?
The thing is when you don't don't really have to go through everything.
It just piles up.
So I am slowly going through every closet, cupboard and drawer.
Here was my goodwill pile.
AmVets came this week three more bags!!
I organized this tiny cupboard which holds Ellie's art stuff!
It was packed.
All this stuff above was stuffed in that cupboard.
Ahh clean slate.
Better huh!

My friend Wendy talked about organizing her junk drawers here.

Now she is an organizer...her junk drawers not so junky. I actually had to look
carefully to see what was cleaned up. I wish my junk drawers at their worst were that organized :)

Mine on the other hand quite junky.

And I do clean them every few months.

This clean up job mainly required dumping tidbits and old pens and pencils that nobody was going to use anymore.

Pathetically enough I have two junk drawers in my kitchen.
Things pile up on the counter.
If someone is coming over I will quickly brush all small miscellaneous stuff into one of these junk drawers ... bad habit.

And what's up with all the decks of cards you may ask?
I don't know. Ben collects cards somehow many of the decks are in this drawer.
We have been playing Spades alot recently boys against the girls!!
The girls are doing quite well I might add!

On to the pantry.
Here is my shelf of cookbooks and magazines.
Believe it or not more cooks illustrated mags on the floor in the pantry.

I took many of my "nicer" cookbooks and decided to put them out
on my open shelving in my kitchen.
Which then allowed me to put those mags from the floor onto the shelf.
Looking a little better.
Here is my open kitchen shelf.
Unfortunately I don't know where my before picture went.
But, trust me I think this looks a little better.

The best part about this project it cost nothing but time!!
I did not buy any additional organizing containers or supplies
just purged and cleaned up what I already had on hand!!

Happy Organizing!

P.S. Random underlining again...just happened on it's own,
not sure why that keeps happening.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Sewing Day!

So the first sewing day was last Friday.
We decided the first project would be a pillow for Madeline's room.
We are using this pattern from Amy Butler.
It is free on her website. The pattern is here.
She has other free sewing patterns and CRAFT patterns if you go to her website here
and click on tab at the top on the far right.

Love her fabric designs and sewing projects.

But, back to our sewing day.

I am not sure Madeline loved it : (
But, she stuck with it.
One mistake I made trying to get by with fabric we had on hand.
This sometimes makes a project take a little longer because you often have to be a little more creative with your resources.
Plus, I need to find a way to keep this little one busier.
(This is her favorite new dress up outfit.)

The sewing day ended when we ran out of trim.
But, Madeline is doing great work.

So what I learned?
I need to be more prepared.
Make sure all supplies are on hand.
Have a good project for Ellie to work on.

Madeline said she liked the sewing is the pinning and cutting she wasn't so fond of, I think a good tv show or movie on would make this part less tedious. I know that's what I like to do when I am sewing.

I think if I could sit down with her and work on something simultaneously might also help.
I was very distracted and multi-tasking last Friday.

I am not sure we will get back to it today.
We have a Girl Scout meeting.

We did buy fabric for the next project...

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Another yummy recipe from the Barefoot Contessa!!
How Easy is That! cookbook

Fleur de sel Caramels!

This is the candy solution.

You will add this cream mixture to the candy solution
once the candy solution becomes a golden brown.

Then you will cook some more. Until it reaches a caramel brown and 248 degrees.
You will need a candy thermometer (Michael's has them use a 40% of coupon!)

You pour it into a parchment lined pan and chill.
You cut it in half and roll into a log.
Then cut to desired size and sprinkle with salt.
We did not have the special fine fleur de we used a little sea salt.

Madeline was the candy maker!

The recipe was only supposed to make 16 candies!
They were way too big.
We cut them much smaller and made approx. 40.

Wrapped individually in parchment paper they were a sweet treat.
Wouldn't this be a good little treat
to put in little valentines bags for your friends?


Vegetable Oil
1-1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 cup heavy cream
5 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 t. fine fleur de sel, plus extra for sprinkling
1/2 t. vanilla extract

Line an 8 inch square pan with parchment paper allowing it to drape over 2 sides, then brush the paper lightly with oil.

In a deep saucepan (6 inches wide and 4-1/2 inches deep,) combine 1/4 cup water, the sugar, and corn syrup and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil until the mixture is a warm golden brown. Don't stir --- just swirl the pan. Watch carefully as it can burn quickly at the end.

In the meantime in a small pot bring the cream, butter and 1 tsp fleur de sel to a simmer over medium heat. (note we used salted butter and eliminated the fleur de sel in this section) Turn off the heat and set aside.

When the sugar mixture is done, turn off the heat and slowly add the cream mixture to the sugar mixture. Be careful it will bubble up violently. Stir in the vanilla with a wooden spoon and cook over medium low heat for about 10 minutes, until mixture reaches 248 degrees (firm ball) on a candy thermometer. Very carefully (it's hot!) pour the caramel into the prepared pan and refrigerate for a few hours, until firm.

When the caramels are cold, pry from the pan onto a cutting board. Cut the square in half. Starting with a long side, roll one piece of the caramel up tightly into an 8 inch long log. (It is ends up being folding in thirds more than a roll...just do your best.) Repeat with the second piece. Sprinkle both logs with a little salt. Trim the ends and cut into desired size pieces. Individually wrap in glassine or parchment paper. Ina says to store in the refrigerator and serve cold. We stored them in the pantry...they were a little softer to eat.


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Canvas Sign

Do you remember the post last year about making a one word canvas?

Well Madeline put one together for her room.

She printed the letters in the size and font she wanted on the computer.
Than she traced them using a light box onto scrapbook paper she had printed out.

(I had her trace the letters in reverse on the back of the paper so you wouldn't
see the drawn lines. If you don't have a light box a window would work well too.)

This was a little tedious but she did a great job!

Then she mod podged them onto a canvas she had already painted.

The trickiest part getting the letters centered and straight.

Here they are in her room.
Still thinking about what adornments we can add to the signs.
Also, will be filling empty quadrants with some other crafts she is working on.
She is a crafty girl!

Valentine Craft

We made a little Valentine Craft.
The idea came from my good "friend" Martha Stewart.
For complete directions go here.
Picture above from Martha Stewart.

This was a fun craft. All you need: old crayons, wax paper and an iron.

We found that a hand held pencil sharpener worked best.
(We tried a vegetable peeler too...but the pencil sharpener worked a little better.)
I did not photograph all the steps but basically you shred the crayon,
fold the wax paper over,
iron and then cut out the shapes you want.
Remember complete directions are on the Martha Stewart website link above.

We decided to display it a little different.
Sort of like a mobile over Ellie's bed.
We punched holes in the hearts
and hung them with embroidery floss from and embroidery hoop.
We also added some bejeweled pipe cleaners for added bling!!

Monday, January 17, 2011

La Jolla!

We enjoyed some beautiful weather this weekend!

The girls and I went tide pooling in La Jolla on Saturday!

It was warm! Near 80!

Ellie liked this little gorge!

Ellie playing in the gorge!
There were tons of hermit crabs and sea anemones.
More gorge playing!
Ellie is not always cooperative in taking photos, so Madeline mimicked her!

The green algae was just incredible.
We walked way out on these rocks.
Fortunately the algae wasn't as slippery as it might appear!
Hope you had a good weekend!