Sunday, January 29, 2012

Decorations, Finally!

One of my resolutions this year was to actually decorate my house.  With something. Anything grown-up, really.  We've lived with white walls (sometimes with kid pictures) for a long time and I wanted a little change.  I started with the bedroom, since I wanted something nice to go over our new headboard (In case you're wondering, I posted those plans here).   I had looked at prints in stores and didn't find anything that suited me, but I did figure out my style.  So I went home to try to find some interesting pictures in our own collection I could turn black and white.

After a sorting through the possibilities, I came up with a 2 great pictures, and one (a beach shot) that didn't fit well enough to include in the set.  Sorting took far too long, and by that point I just wanted to get something done. So, instead, I used a stand-in of a picture of a road, but I plan to replace that one when a better picture crops up.  

 I picked up three shadowboxes at target for $10 a piece. I had the images scaled to be 7"x7" inches wide printed on an 8" x 10" sheet.  It was about $10 to get them printed down the road at Walgreens.

 I decided not to waste time hunting around and spending more money to get a real matboard.  I just used some thick white scrapbook paper I had on hand, a square, exacto knife (blades) and tape.  Pretty much self explanatory, but there's a nice image of what you need.  Both the lines and corners  came out very nice and straight using the exacto knife.

All finished.  Here's a closeup of the images I picked.  Sorry that the photos are a really poor quality.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Christmas and Big Kid Birthday's Part II

For Eve's 6th birthday I decided to dye her some playsilks.  She had used some before at a friends house, and I'd been hemming and hawing over the idea of buying fabric just for her (I mean I have enough around the house anyway), but I'm SOOoo glad I did.  She absolutely loves them.  I do too.

I bought the silks from the Dharma Trading company.  For $21.80 shipped I got four 21.5" x 21.5", one 30" x 30" and one 35" x 35".  I also spent less than $2 in koolaid and vinegar.  Like dying wool for longies, dying the playsilks was just as easy.  I didn't really follow anyone's directions in particular, but just did gain some knowledge from a few sites I googled quickly.

The process is pretty easy.  Presoak the silks in a mixture of vinegar and water for about 5 minutes (heavy on the vinegar). 

Mix the koolaid in a mixture of water and vinegar (heavy on the water).  The amount of water/dye used depends on what intensity you want and the amount of variation.  Less water = more of a crumpled look, More water = Smooth. You can just toss the crumpled up silk in the water or you can try other 'fancy' methods, like shapes or stripes.  Above I tied the silk into a heart shape. 

In the image above, I made stripes.  I was going to use green in the middle afterwards, but realized I had run out of lemon-lime.  I held of the package below to my husband said, "Do you think this watermelon one is green?  Or maybe red?" and he gave me the you're-stupid-in-a-funny-way-look, and I read the package.  Invisible. Big letters. Right.  I do this a lot.

Anyway, after you decide what you want, microwave on high a minute (or two) on, a minute off.  Watch it carefully and monitor the dryness/temperature of the silk (no fires please!!).  After you finish setting the dye, rinse in cold water until the water runs clear.  Use gloves/plastic bags or your hands will look like mine did :)   I had a really hard time getting the orange to set and eventually gave up.  It hasn't bled all over, thankfully, but I never did get the water to run clear.   I wish I had more pink to dye the large silk, but when it's folded up/in use it's looks a little more vibrant.

Anyway, the silks came out gorgeous, and I'm so glad we got them.  It was a neat project, and it was nice that I was able to get it all done in one night while Eve was sleeping. Below you can see one of the playsilks in action on a awesome doll Eve's friend and her Mom made Eve for her birthday.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Christmas & Big Kids Birthdays Part I

We have a packed Christmas season in our house.  Eli's birthday is about a week before Christmas and Eve's birthday is about a week after Christmas.  I wanted to post pictures as soon as I finished, but I was worried the kids would see.  There was a close call when I was transferring pictures while Elijah was on my lap.  Thankfully another picture caught his eye first.

In the past I made  thoughtful, handmade gifts, but combining a glum mood with having a full time job and this year it's sad to say I didn't put much effort into picking out their gifts.

Eli's birthday came first.  Earlier this year he had decided his superhero alias was going to be 'flameboy'.  I had bought him some flame baby legs and a flame socks to go with his theme, and decided that it was time he got his own cape for his birthday.  (For a long time he would run around with Eve's word girl cape yelling "I'm Lisha Word GIRL")

I designed the flames to match the same style of flame as the babylegs we wears.

I'll try to post the plans for the cape sometime soon, although they're very simple to make.  I was planning on making Eli a mask, but when I saw a 2-pack of red/black masks at Target for a good price, I decided to get those instead.

I actually pursued one of my pintrests and made these superhero lollypops for Eli.  I didn't actually print out the template, as my printers broken, so I just cut out some colored paper and drew the emblems on the back, which wasn't hard at all.  But, unfortunately, they were incredibly last minute, and the whole time I had to fight my daughter off whilst she tried to steal a look at what I was doing.  One thing I've found- bad enough moods that cause me to put off things, only makes for more frustration and bad moods later.  Stupid downward spiral kind of thing. Anyway, they were both really happy when I finished and put it on the table for the party.

The cake was the last 'homemade' thing I made for his birthday.  I don't really think I should count a box cake and canned frosting as homemade, but there was some effort put in.  Eli was very specific about his cake needs.  Chocolate. With a layer of chocolate frosting inside.  And chocolate frosting on top.  And a robot.  Riding on Lightning McQueen.  Oh and tow mater too. He's a funny kid.

So here's my attempt.  I decided there wasn't enough room for tow mater, and since I only had two piping bags to work with, so I didn't want to do more than the colors necessary.  He was still very happy with the outcome.  I was pretty happy with it too.  I've had some bad cake-making experiences in the last year which had resulted in me handing the frosting to Eve to take over (who did a good job) and going to my room to dissolve in tears.  So this a redeeming experience.

All in all, it was a good birthday.  As for everything else, he received typical 'boy' stuff (which he loves) cars, legos, swords and a shield.   My mom made him the handmade robot shirt (with freezer paper and paint from Dharma Trading Company).  To both myself and my mom's pleasure, he thought was awesome and ripped off his shirt to put on right away.