Wednesday, April 27, 2011

will & kate - a celebration of sorts

One of my favourite things to sew for kids is aprons. 
My little ones love to wear them and role play. But aprons aren't just for the playroom. Why not introduce toddlers and preschoolers to the real kitchen?! Cooking and baking are great ways for children to learn math and science concepts as well as new vocabulary.

And with the Royal wedding this week, I decided to make a very special apron:

Fabulously fun and feminine!
Now I'll have to make another one for me when I watch William and Kate tie the knot...

Are you planning to watch on the big day?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

kimono for hannah

One of Malcolm's best friends is a girl named Hannah.
She's beautiful, petite, and has lots of adorable freckles. 
Along with her family, Hannah is living a very inspiring eco-friendly lifestyle by staying off the consumer grid. They buy only local, secondhand or handmade. Her family blogs about this lifestyle choice here if you would like to learn more.

Hannah recently celebrated her birthday so naturally we gave her a handmade gift. 

I picked up this Asian inspired fabric at my favourite quilt shop and thought it would be perfect for a kimono. 
I used a simple pattern that I got from here, and altered it a bit (I added bias tape along the bottom edges and made small slits on each side). 

The challenge was finding a coordinating fabric for the bias tape. In the end I went with olive green broadcloth. 

I received a picture with Hannah wearing her new kimono top - and it fits!
Happy Birthday Hannah.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

star wars birthday party - the finale

We had a successful Star Wars birthday party for our 8 year old son, Malcolm, so I thought I'd show you how it all went down. In case you missed the previous posts: here are the invites we sent out, and here are the Jedi robes I whipped up for the kids.

We started the party off with some Jedi training - which really just ended up being light saber battles more than anything. So we quickly moved on to 'pinning the light saber on Yoda.' Don't judge the artwork (it did the trick)!

The kids could have played over and over again if we had let them!

Then we moved on to the treasure hunt - Star Wars style. 

We bought some trinkets like little bouncy balls and light up toys from the dollar store and wrapped them in foil so they would look like asteroids. Then we hid them around the house and wrote up some clues of where to find them.

I found that 8 years old is just old enough for riddles and word play games, but they did need a bit of guidance along the way. It was great fun watching them search all over the house.

mini LED lights that fit on your finger

We bought blue glow sticks and wrapped the ends with foil to make them look like mini light sabers too.

The part that I had the most fun planning was the menu. 
Did you know there's even a Star Wars Cookbook available?! Too funny. Some of the menu ideas were our own, but most we picked up all over the internet. One of the best blogs I used for inspiration can be found here.

menu item cards

For drinks we served Yoda Soda (Mountain Dew because it's green) and Jedi Juice (Orange Crush). No real reason behind the Crush except that my youngest son Evan had never tried it and had to get it when we were at the grocery store.

I made some chocolate covered pretzels - or edible light sabers. The red ones turned out kind of pink but it's just as well because the girls actually outnumbered the boys at this party!! Also kinda funny.

I combined two different colours of tortilla chips to represent the dark side vs. light. Served them up with Spicy Hutt Salsa and Cheesebacca Dip of course.

Although not pictured here, there was also jello (aka carbonite) with Han Solo inside, Galactic Pizza and Bobba Fett-iccini and Darth Maul Balls.

The cake was made up with one layer of vanilla and one layer of chocolate - again to portray dark vs. light. I covered it with black fondant icing and got these really neat candles where the flame is the colour of the candle; like for example, the blue candle has a blue flame. We tried to capture them here but they don't show up very well.... 

I didn't have time to bake Wookiee Cookies so these were just store-bought oatmeal chocolate chip.

We finished off the party with a pinata mission to destroy the Death Star.

I tried making my own pinata with a balloon but found that it was too oval shaped. So I picked up a soccer ball pinata at the store and covered it with gray tissue paper. It worked out perfectly. Then my husband and son put on the final touches.

The Death Star was too solid to use the toy light sabers to destroy it, so in true Canadian fashion, the kids used a hockey stick instead. Once destroyed, each child received their Jedi certification. I don't have a picture of it but you can easily Google these or create your own.

In the end, all our efforts were worth it... just to see this:

a very happy birthday boy

Saturday, April 16, 2011

star wars birthday - part 2

As I mentioned earlier, we've been busy putting together a Star Wars themed party for Malcolm.
And what's a Star Wars party without Star Wars costumes?!
So here's my little Jedi:

...he was still in his jammies when I made him try on the new robe.

Now those of you who have actually watched Star Wars would know that the Jedi robes are in fact dark brown. 
I did not. 
But thankfully, I am told that both Yoda and Obi Wan Kenobi have lighter coloured robes so my efforts weren't a total waste. Which is really good because I made 7 of these! There's one for each child attending the party.

Jedi in action

They were simple to make, especially because I finished the edges with my serger rather than hemming them. Oh how I love my serger.

I took pictures as I went but figured it would be more clear if I drew up a little tutorial. 
So here it is if you would like to make your own Jedi robe (no matter what colour you choose).

Each robe required between 1 and 1 1/2 meters of fabric (depending on the size of the child). I also made a hood for Malcolm's robe but didn't like how it turned out so I skipped this step for the other ones.

My littlest Jedi was too busy to stop for a photo but I managed to snap one of him on the move. 
Thanks for stopping by. 
I'll be doing one more post with all the final details of the party so stay tuned!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

my grandpa

This weekend we celebrated my grandfather's birthday. 
I'm not sure he'd appreciate me telling the world how old he is so let's just say it ends in zero.
What do you give someone who has everything?! 
That's what I struggle with every year. 
But this time, when I was wandering around my favourite quilt store, I came across the perfect fabric.

Grandpa makes his own wine so I made him an apron with images of vintage corks and corkscrews. 
You can't really tell from the picture, but this apron has extra long ties and a big pocket on the front. I love that the dark colours will hide any spills.

While we were there, I managed to snap a couple of pictures for this week's 'glimpse into motherhood' project. I know they're nothing spectacular but it's so rare to be able capture Evan with an authentic smile and I had to take advantage.

Awe. Makes me want a puppy.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

riley cat

Introducing: Riley Cat.  
That's his full name according to my youngest son, Evan.

He's our family pet, and I think of him like cat 'eye candy'. He's so soft and pretty.
But most importantly, he puts up with a lot from Evan - who is not the most gentle child at times. But secretly I think Riley really loves him anyway because he always comes back for cuddles.

Oh and the backround colour?! 
Well, with that beautiful weather we're experiencing today, I was able to send the boys out to play in the backyard... which gave me a chance to paint the dining room. Lovin' that new smokey blue.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

star wars birthday, part 1

It's an exciting time over here as we're preparing for Malcolm's birthday party.
He asked for a Star Wars theme and I cringed. 
A part of me was happy to avoid the big expensive party for yet another year, but the other part of me gasped at all the work that could involve. Party planning isn't a strength of mine and I'm in awe of all those mums that do it with such ease. Needless to say I didn't think I'd be able to pull this one off. That was until I came across this blog.

How perfect - someone has done all the planning for me! I don't have to make time to sit and watch all the Star Wars films from start to finish and figure out how to create a party out of it - I just have to execute the ideas and bake the cake! Sounds just right for me. 
And now I'm actually getting kinda excited for this one. I may even watch the movies once this is all said and done.

So last night we made the invites - a bit late but what can ya do. Most of the words were taken from that wonderful blog mentioned above. I just changed them a bit to suit our needs and added a picture. I glued the printouts onto black card stock and folded in half.

Next up - a death star pinata.
Stay tuned to see if I can pull the rest of these big plans off....

Saturday, April 2, 2011

glimpses of motherhood

Tiffany at simplymodernmom has set out to capture little glimpses of motherhood, all while perfecting her photography skills. And she's invited us all to join along! I love everything about this idea. And I've been thinking that I need to get back into photography... seems like a perfect opportunity, right?!

But first, back up a bit. 
Before we were married, my husband and I were really into taking photos. We took pictures almost daily and I'm so thankful for the wealth of reminders we have today from that special time. We each had an assortment of cool lenses and manual SLR cameras. SLR film cameras that is. We took photography and darkroom courses together and managed to get a few prints published in the local paper I worked for at the time. We didn't have a lot of money then but what little we had was spent on camera equipment. Good times.

Then it happened.
Our huge investments became obsolete. Digital photography replaced film and our favourite photolab closed down. It was the end of an era. And pretty much the end of 'manual' photography for me.

Just over a year ago we saved up and bought a digital SLR camera. We chose a Nikon so that we could still use some of our old school lenses (and they wouldn't be a total waste). My husband is a much faster learner than I am so he's been able to use the new camera much more to its potential than I have. I've just felt like I don't have the time, or the energy to relearn this again - especially when this new camera takes such wonderful pictures on the Auto setting. I've basically been using the camera as an expensive point-and-shoot. But I miss the photography. I miss taking really great photos.
So when I came across simplymodernmom's project 52, I decided to join in on the fun.

Project 52: Glimpse Into Motherhood

A weekly photo seems doable and by simply making it a goal, I'll likely be digging out that new SLR more often, and learning how to use it over several months.

So here it is, this week's submission:

boogaloo 2010

Observant readers will notice it's not a new photo - it was taken this past fall of my two boys. I'm submitting it to Project 52 because it's where I learned how to do fill flash with the new fancy shmancy camera. I love the effect that fill flash brings to so many pictures but don't remember to use it often enough.

Hey, my boys clean up pretty nice, eh!

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