Ode to failure

September 29, 2010

Well, failure may be a little harsh so how about “ode to unsuccessful crafty attempts” (doesn’t really have the same ring to it, though).  In the interest of keeping it real, I figured I’d share my latest, not so successful projects.

Remember when I mentioned that I wanted to attempt the Muffin Tin Monday experience?  Well, let’s just say it was not yet what I had hoped.  The super creative mom on the blog offers up fun themes that you can follow every week and then people can post their creations to get ideas.  This week was a “no theme” week so I figured I’d just do shapes – nice and easy.  Well, also a little boring.  No picture - too boring.  And my other problem was that my girls only ate about 1/6 of the food I put in the muffin tins.  Bummer.  Emma did mention, “What a cute breakfast, Mom!”  … and then proceeded to complain about 5/6 of the contents (hence the 1/6 eaten).  No good!  Ugh!  But I am determined to give it another go!  Next week looks like a fun theme so let’s see where it takes us :)

Failure #2.  Canning.  Not the actual canning process (which I actually enjoyed and even Ted helped me with!) but rather the recipe I tried.  I took a tomato canning class back in July and the instructor gave us all her favorite marinara recipe.  I’ve been wanting to make it ever since and have been looking forward to it.  So I headed to the farmers market on Monday and the sweetest tomato farmer ever gave me a whole box of her too-ripe tomatoes, which would be perfect for sauce.  How great is that?!  Well, to cut to the chase, the recipe said to cook down the sauce for about 30 minutes, so I figured starting this project at 9pm would be okay.  Um, no.  Apparently most tomato sauce needs to cook down for hours.  So I wound up with very thin sauce and too little sleep last night.  No good.  But it does taste really good:

So my next canning adventure will not start at 9pm and will include plenty of hours to cook down the sauce.  Off to find that sweet tomato lady next week :)

So not to leave on a depressing note, my $3.74 dress from Target is making me happy, happy, happy

Ultra comfy and great to pair with leggings or jeans and flats – or my super cute new fall boots if the weather would ever cool the heck down! (**And as I just reread this post – I noticed cute little half naked baby in the back – lol!)

And on the crafting front, I finally tried my hand at making baby leggings (aka Baby Legs) from a pair of knee high socks after reading this little tutorial.  And oh my, this is easy peasy!  Seriously took about 15 minutes, max (and that was including having to rip out two rows of stitches – ugh!) and they are so cute:

(And I hope you’re not reading this, Erin – these are about to make their way to your house for Mr. Stewart Little!)  So I picked up a few more pairs of socks:

Heehee!  So if you are having a baby soon – I am probably making you a pair!  Heehee!

Happy Wednesday!

From the desk of Darth Vader…

September 25, 2010

Well, I guess not actually Darth Vader, but according to my sweet husband I sound quite like him these days!  I was lucky enough to bring back a cold from our trip to SF and I am just finally starting to feel better!  So while I’m still working on a “real” post, I just wanted to pop on and say I’m not deserting the blog again!  I’ll be back soon!  With something actually interesting to say, lol!  But for now…

this is what is currently calling my attention :)

Bento craziness

September 16, 2010

Hello again!  I wanted to pop up a quick post before we take off for San Francisco for a few days.  And what could be more appropriate than a bento box post! 

Since Emma has started preschool and actually needs to take a lunch somewhere, I have gotten completely into the bento style lunches.  And although her lunches rarely (or never) contain much Japanese food (except for a pretty regular serving of white rice – that girl can eat rice like nobody’s business!), I love the idea of creating thoughtful, beautiful lunches for someone you love (which, as I understand it, is a big thing with moms in Japan!  Love that!).  I have found a completely inspiring blog called another lunch.  I absolutely love it!  Such great ideas for kid lunches (even if you’re not into the bento idea, just some new ideas besides pb & j can be helpful!).  I have no where near this mom’s talent, but here’s a couple of my latest for Em:

The silicone muffin cups (Wilton brand is what I have) are perfect for this sort of thing!  Plus they’re dishwasher safe, unlike lots of the other bento supplies.  I have also bought some supplies from J list and All Things for Sale, both which advertise on the another lunch blog.  Emma is excited to use the Hello Kitty bento box that I got in the J list package today – cute!  So, of course, one of our stops in SF has to be Japantown!  New bento stuff!  Can’t wait!

I’m also hoping (once we’re back from vacation) to get started with some Muffin Tin Mondays!  I picked up my 6-cup muffin tins this week (Dollar Tree!) and am looking forward to getting started with the girls.  Fun!

Remember the faux makeup from my last post?  I made it!

The girls love it!  Complete easy (took probably 10 minutes, max) and cheap!  I picked up the makeup cases at Dollar Tree (although if you had old empty ones at home that would be even better) and then just poured some of my old nail polishes into the spaces.  The best no-mess makeup ever!  And who doesn’t love this picture??

Emma and Daddy doing makeup – and clearly Emma is aghast at his color choice!

Ok, have to leave you with this cutie pic of my sweet Abby:

I swear, she reminds me of those helmet guys in the old Spaceballs movie!

Have a great weekend!

I’m back!

September 12, 2010

…and hanging my head in shame that I haven’t blog for so long!  But I am back!  And I am making a commitment to myself to keep up with it and keep myself motivated - can’t wait to share some fun projects and crafty ideas!  Here we go…

A few months ago I started noticing the felt patterns for toys on Etsy and immediately fell in LOVE!  My first project was a circus for Abby for her second birthday.  I was really happy how it came out  but I think it was probably a bit ambitious as a first project.  This latest project that I made would be the perfect first time felt pattern for someone – fast and easy!

Barnyard balls!  They are so cute – this late-night-no-sunlight photo does not do them justice!  They would make a great baby gift or gift for a young child (these are for a co-worker’s 1-year-old son).  I bought the pattern here.  It’s a good one!

So in case you haven’t noticed (haha!) both of my girls are rather girlie-girls!  This means there is lots of dress up, glitter and lip gloss (oh man, the current lip gloss obsession is out of control!).  I noticed this cute project and am planning on making some this week – faux make up!   I will keep you posted on the outcome!  I also have some fun stuff that I’ve got planned – glitter body paint, bathtub finger paint – lots of goodies to get ready for Christmas presents!  Maybe a post of fun, easy, homemade Christmas presents for kiddos??  What do you think?

Well since I think this post needs a couple more photos, here’s my current favorites of my two favorite small people:

My sweet Abby – I am absolutely loving every single inch of her right now.  She is the happiest two-year-old I have ever met!  Loving our conversations right now, loving her silly girl faces and absolutely loving this beautiful personality that’s emerging.  Love this girl.

Oh, Em.  You are giving me a run for my money right now.  She is nearly four and full of attitude!  Whew!  I am catching myself repeating to myself, “Everything’s a phase.   Everything’s a phase.”  Oh man.  I’m hanging in there – waiting for that sweet, sweet girl I know to make her way back around – I know she’s in there!  In the midst of the chaos tonight, she turned to me and said, “I love you so much, Mama.”  Yep, we’ll get through this.  And I love you so much too, attitude and all.

So there it is – I made it back!  And I’m looking forward to more!

Happy September all!

Wooden food and such

February 24, 2010

When I was a little girl, playing restaurant was one of my very favorite activities.  My favorite place to play was at my grandma’s house, especially when her good friend, Warna, would come visit.  I would grab a pad of paper and a pen and “take orders” from my customers.  Then I would run to my grandpa’s tv room closet (which housed all the toys at their house) and see what I could dig up that resembled pancakes, hot dogs, or whatever else the order happened to be.  I never had a play kitchen or even real play food, but I did have a Tupperware pitcher and cup set that was a favorite.  This is one of my very favorite childhood memories – and probably the reason that I love playing kitchen with my girls.  Or maybe I’m just jealous of their super cute retro pink kitchen :)  Either way, I have been having so much fun making all kinds of things for their kitchen.  My most recent has been wooden food boxes.  I saw these wooden food boxes and thought I could probably make something a bit less expensive and with some recycled materials.  Here’s what I came up with:

Here’s the process:  I decided to use the cardboard food boxes that came with their kitchen sets (you know, the ones that last a whole 5 MINUTES before being completely crumpled and ruined??) by cutting off the front and back pictures.  Then I went to Home Depot and searched their scrap lumber area (they usually have a roll around cart somewhere with odds and ends pieces that run about $1 or less).  I found some small pieces and took them to the lumber man to see about cutting them for me.  Not only did he give me the pieces for free but he even cut them for free!  Nice guy!  So all I had to purchase was a small bit of sandpaper.  I sanded them, painted them with some leftover nontoxic paint I had at home and then used some mod podge to put the labels on the front and back.   So easy, even Emma helped (which might explain the crooked Mac n Cheese, but who cares, right?)!  They are a pretty cute addition to the kitchen and cost about $2 – and used up some stuff that would have been trash – great all the way around!

Another fun little project was making mini Valentine books for the girls and Ted.  I used this great printable Valentine mini album from Shabby Chic Crafts and then added some of my own supplies.  Here’s a quick pic of Ted’s  album:

And one of the girls’ albums:

A really simple and quick little Valentine gift.  Abby has been asking to take hers to bed every night – “Mama book” she says – so cute it could melt my heart!

That’s all for tonight sweet friends!  Have a great rest of the week!

Hello February. Welcome.

February 3, 2010

I have to say that I am SO happy that January is over!  It was a rough month for us over here, sick kids and sleepless nights, so I am happy to welcome in a new one!  Other than a major oven incident (i.e. I’m completely without an oven and stove.  Aack!) February is pretty darn good.  Even the weather is making me happy :)

I’ve been on a pillow cover making kick lately.  Time to add a little spring sunshine to our living room and bedroom.  This is my favorite one:

Looking at it just makes me smile.  Love the girlyness (ok, I don’t think that’s a word, but it gets the point across :) )

Another craft goody that’s been a favorite lately is felt food for the girls’ play kitchen.  I’ve seen so many cute things on Etsy and other sites lately and wanted to try my hand.  These cookies were seriously so easy to make and are nearly cute enough to eat!

The girls love them as much as I do (which completely makes my heart HAPPY!) and I think I’ve made them about a dozen now.  So fun.  I just made some little bow-tie pastas, too, but I forgot to take a pic before I put Abby to bed tonight.  Picture to come soon!

Okay, off to finish watching Cinderella with Emma.  She has decided we all need to call her Aurora (aka Sleeping Beauty) lately but she wanted to watch Cinderella tonight – “Sleeping Beauty is way to scary for Abby.  She’s just a baby.” – Good call, Aurora.

Rain, rain, GO AWAY!

January 21, 2010

We’re in the midst of a couple of weeks of too much sick, too much rain, too little sleep and a too tired mama!  Ready for brighter days!

Not too much going on creatively around here right now but I thought I’d share a couple of skirts that I made for the girls recently.  I’ve been cleaning out some old clothes from the girls’ closets and ran across a bunch of jeans that they have outgrown lengthwise but not around the waist.  They were heading into the donation bag when I started thinking that they might make cute little skirts.  I played around a bit and found a super easy way to add just a little bit of fabric and make these cute little goodies:

Love how easy these were and how great it is to be able to recycle some of their clothes that would otherwise be given away.  I’m hoping that this week brings a little more sleep (and no more sickness!) so I can get to crafting again!

Stay dry out there!

Happy New Year!

January 1, 2010

A new year and a new decade.  It seems sort of surreal to think that it’s been 10 years since 2000 – but wow, has my life seen some changes!  Excited, and hopeful, to see what 2010 brings my way :)

I can’t say that I did much to celebrate the new year last night…as a matter of fact, I actually didn’t even make it until midnight (which is sort of weird for me).  But I ended the night in a warm bed with a bowl of cereal and a new book…and started the new year with 2 kids who slept in past 8am!  Whoa – let’s make that a trend this year!  I figured since the morning was going so well…might as well sugar-up the kids, lol!  I saw this super cute idea on a blog that I recently discovered (thanks, Lara!) and could easily spend hours and hours ogling!  I decided to take this idea and add a bit of my own – here is what Emma and I came up with:

Ok, how fun are cookies on a stick that actually look like lollipops??!!  These are my new favorite thing – I just want to keep going in the kitchen to look at them :)  They taste good, too.  The kids absolutely loved them and it was a whole family affair to make them – Ted helped roll the little dough balls, Emma made the “snakes” and Abby was the official taster – as in, she could not stop putting the dough in her mouth!  She was out of control!  I guess this doesn’t help with her tendency to eat playdough, either.  Oh well, it was worth it!  You can bet these are going to be making an appearance at future playdates and birthday parties.  Too fun not to make!

So one of my favorite inspirations, Ali Edwards, has got me thinking about my “word” for 2010.  Or rather, if I should actually have a word for 2010.  I’ve seen this concept for a couple of years now and haven’t ever really felt inspired to participate.  I’m feeling a little differently this year.  I feel like I’d like to focus some of my energy on a few areas that I think I’ve been neglecting.  Or rather leading in the wrong direction.  I’m still mulling it all over on the inside so I’m not ready to commit yet.  Just getting it out there that I’m thinking about it…we shall see :)

On a final note, I just discovered something that I think is really cool (probably something that a million people are doing already, but I’m okay with that) and I wanted to share.  So we have a large dining table that we do just about everything at, everyday.  Eat, play, visit, read, color, glitter, glue, etc, etc.  It’s also a main focal point in our house so I like to try to keep it looking nice as often as possible.  I really like the idea of having a centerpiece on one of those really beautiful table runners.  But that simply would NOT last more than 10 minutes in my house.  Abby would have that table runner ripped off (along with the centerpiece) in nothing flat.  And would probably be wearing it on her head.  Anyway, I need something much smaller but equally pretty.  Welcome placemats!!! I just discovered that a placemat is the perfect size for me and best of all, they are available in almost all of those beautiful table runner patterns – but for minimal cost!  Love it!  I used one I found from Target for my holiday centerpiece and then bought this one today to use for the next few months or so:

Perfect size to avoid being grabbed by wee hands!

I hope everyone is having a fabulous start to 2010…may this year bring a bit of peace and joy to all of us.  Happy new year.

One more week!

December 17, 2009

One more week before the big day and we are ready!  Emma is asking me everyday now, “Is it Christmas today, Mama?”  Despite all the fuss and busyness, there is really nothing like celebrating Christmas with two little people.  Pure magic.

I just wanted to share a quick, last-minute project that Emma and I did this week.  I wanted to come up with something that Emma could put together for her grandparents for Christmas.  Sort of an intro to the gift-giving aspect of the holiday.  It’s a huge priority for me during the holiday to try to instill the giving and not just the receiving.  I also wanted to come up with something that Emma could make herself and be proud to give.  So I picked up a bag of cinnamon-scented pinecones at Michaels and then pulled out some Elmer’s school glue and leftover glitter I had in the closet.  Here is what she made:

Seriously cute little ornaments that smell great!  And the easiest project ever!  Just roll the pinecone in some glue, roll it in glitter and allow to dry.  She had so much fun making them all by herself.  I tied on a little piece of twine when she was done so they’d be ready to hang.  After they were dry, she decorated little lunch bags that we tied up with pretty cinnamon dough ornaments and dried oranges:

Isn’t that so cute?!  She is so excited to give them to her grandparents at Christmas.  I think the total cost of this project was under $5 – for all of them (we ended up making about 10).

Just a little photo to sign off with:

It’s this crazy little bitty that has kept me on my toes the last few weeks…it’s a good thing she’s cute!

Happy holidays!

Happy December!

December 8, 2009

I don’t know about you, but I can’t believe it’s already nearly the middle of December!  And it’s just a few weeks away from 2010…crazy!  We are in full Christmas swing around the Muller house.  I made it a huge priority to be finished (or at least nearly finished) with all my gift making and buying by December 1.  I am so happy that I made it happen!  I don’t feel stressed about the holidays.  I’m not frantic at the stores with a million other people.  I’m not spending a ridiculous amount of money to have things shipped at the last minute (I’ve done that before!).  Instead, I am seriously enjoying doing daily activities with the girls to celebrate Christmas.  We put up the countdown calendar I mentioned here and the girls LOVE it!  (Well, really just Emma but Abby loves the m&ms :) )  Instead of filling the tins with gifts, I put about 6 mini M&Ms in each one along with a note.  The note tells the girls what Christmas activity we are doing that day.  So far we’ve:

* Watched a Christmas show and had popcorn

* Painted toenails red for Christmas

*Went to Fairytale Town’s Winter Wonderland

*Made a special art project together (decorated foam snowflakes that I found at Michaels to hang in our window)

* Helped Mama wrap Christmas presents

* Got a special treat (frozen yogurt) and drove around to see Christmas lights

And those are just the ones I can remember off the top of my head.  We are having a blast!  I’m definitely doing this next year.  I also saw a fabulous idea (which of course I can’t locate on my computer now to link to…boo!) of wrapping up 24 Christmas books and letting the kids open one each night to read.  How cool is that?!  I’m thinking all those little dollar books on the Target dollar spot and at the Dollar Store would be perfect for this!

So remember that frame I mentioned earlier:

Well this is what it became:

It made the perfect platter for my table centerpiece!  I saw some pieces that were a similar color but they all seemed to be about $10-25.  I saw this frame (on sale at Target for $2.99, regular price $5.99) and figured it might work.  I love it!  I bought the candles, silver cups, vase and artificial flower at Ikea (super cheap) and used some glittered faux lemons and cranberry beads I had from last year.  This is what it looks like after my kids are in bed (haha!):

I’ve kept the decorating very simple this year and am completely enjoying it.  Oh, and all those huge boxes of Christmas decor I mentioned before…headed to the Goodwill this week.  Finally went through everything and am happy to be passing it along :)

For this week:  Trip to San Francisco with just the hubby (can’t wait!!), Gingerbread Party hosted by a friend of mine for the girls, Spanish preschool for Emma, and Emma’s first haircut!  Oh, and some activities from our Christmas Countdown…I think one of those just might have to be this super cute garland.

Have a great week!


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