Favorites from Around the Web

wpid-img_20140819_190623.jpg

Happy Friday to us all. Here are some beautiful time wasters that I really enjoyed this week and maybe you will too. My weekend is looking pretty relaxing with a party to look forward to tomorrow night. I hope your weekend will be lovely and I am also hoping for some more rainstorms like last week to cool down this 108 degree weather!

How true is this video of things children do that are unacceptable for adults to do. It’s a riot. His slide off the table really makes me laugh.

This photo series is lovely. These old photos made me smile, but also leave me thinking that society has become far too casual.

Another photo series proving that  strong women have been defying stereotypes since the beginning, so why do we even have stereotypes?

How adorable is this mudroom, complete with snack bar? This is on my dream house list.

Boden does it again with this perfect peplum top, but it’s only in junior sizes, so I think I will have to make my own just like it.

This article about the North Pond Hermit who lived in the woods in Maine for 27 years! is fascinating (but kind of long, make sure you have time). Honestly though, I hope this Hermit writes a book, just look at how he talks!

 

 

DIY Blue Ribbon

I have this problem where I finally get my pictures onto the computer and edited and then just assume that the blog post got written. Here is my belated post on making prize ribbons like you’d win at a fair, or in my case for a family pie contest on the Fourth of July.

DIY Prize Ribbons  I  Wildfire KissesI was originally planning on just buying some, but couldn’t find them anywhere! The morning of the festivities I decided to attempt making my own, and they turned out to be surprisingly simple.

Supplies: 

1 inch ribbon (I used grosgrain)

Cardstock

Stapler

Fabric to match your ribbon

Hot glue gun

 

Directions: 

1. Cut 3, 2.5-3 inch circles from your cardstock. I traced the bottom of a cup and my circles were 2 3/4 inches.

2. Grab a cardstock circle and your ribbon. (I didn’t measure how much ribbon I used, I simply pulled from the spool until I was finished.)  Create a small fold in the ribbon and staple that fold down to the edge of the cardstock circle. Repeat until the circle of ribbon is complete.

IMG_7629

End with the ribbon folded to the back and overlapping the first fold to make it look continuous and so the raw edges of ribbon are visible only on the back. Cut the end of the ribbon and set this circle aside.

3. Grab a second circle and trim to fit inside the ribbon circle while still covering the staple tops. Like so.

IMG_7634

2. Take that slightly smaller circle and cut a circle of fabric about 1/2 an inch wider around than your carstock circle. Like so:

IMG_7635

 

Clearly perfection is over rated.

3.  Use the hot glue to attach the fabric to the back off the circle, making sure to keep the front fabric taunt.

IMG_7636

Just keep folding the fabric over and gluing it down.

IMG_7637

4. Apply hot glue to the back of the fabric covered circle and place on top of the ribbon circle, covering the top of the staples.

IMG_7638

You’ve now completed the hardest parts and are almost done!

5.  Turn your completed ribbon top over and cut a second length of ribbon to attach to the back  leaving the ends as long as you want Overlap the middle of the ribbon to create the angle between the two ribbon ends that you want and hot glue it down.

IMG_7639

 

6. The final step is to simply hot glue the final cardstock circle over the back of the ribbon top giving it a clean and finished look!

IMG_7642

 

There you have it, a prize ribbon that took probably about 25 minutes to make (that’s with a toddler trying to “help”). And just for reference—because I had to look it up—Blue is first place, Red is second, and yellow or white are used for third.

IMG_7645

The white clearly ended up being my favorite, because I ran out of plain white ribbon and used polka dots to finish it off.  Maybe you can have your own pie/costume/pumpkin contest this fall and make your own ribbons!

Teddy Smocked Romper

Teddy Bear Smocking   I  Wildfire Kisses

 

One of the best parts of our trip to Utah was getting to meet my best friend’s baby boy! He was only two weeks old, and I miss getting to see him every day now that I’m back home, so thank goodness for social media! I wanted to make him something special, so I tried my hand at this mock two piece romper from an old pattern my mom has had and used for years. I was honestly trailing threads to Utah to finish sewing this in time, The Grizzly Kid did all of the driving on the way up and I sat and finished all the hand sewing and finishing touches that needed to be done. Last minute work is my forte. And if you want an overview of how I made it, then read on, if not, you’ve caught the gist of this post and can move on with your day!

IMG_7907

 

I wanted to add a single smocked teddy bear to the front since his name is Theodore (Teddy), but that that meant I couldn’t run the whole piece through the pleater, so I had to hand pleat a section which was not nearly as hard as I thought it would be. The closest smocking plate in my mum’s stash was this little sailor bear, which is adorable, but not quite what I wanted.

Sailor Bear smocking plate  I  Wildfire Kisses

 

 

 

 

wpid-imag0962.jpg

Instead I altered him a bit as you can tell later, but first I had to creates my pleats for the smocking.

 

 

 

IMG_7027

I just took a large section of fabric, and used a needle and  thread and picked  up a stitch every five lines (the photo above shows every third, but that meant the pleats weren’t deep enough so I redid it after this sample two rows). It’s clear that I am new at this hand pleating and my stitches were not perfect, but it turned out fine as the stitches are hidden later.

Hand Smocking I Wildfire Kisses

I measured the the number of rows of stitching I needed to the number of rows that the sailor bear pattern called for and once you have enough rows you simply pull each end of the threads and gather the pleats like so! All too easy, just rather time consuming.

Teddy Bear Smocking I Wildfire Kisses

 

From there I smocked on my little bear! It’s such fun to see the picture come together even though your stitches are uneven and wobbly, no need to be perfect to tackle a new project!

Teddy Bear Smocking I Wildfire Kisses

 

I love how this little guy looks like he is walking off on an adventure. I switched him from a sailor bear to a more classic teddy, with a longer sleeve, and french knots for buttons to make it look like a coat instead. And here you can see how big a piece of fabric I used to stitch him onto, I was too paranoid to cut until I had the pattern laid out on top of my smocking. IMG_7905

Better safe than sorry,  measure twice cut once, and all that other play it safe stuff is my middle name. From there I just followed the pattern instructions to cut out and sew up the romper! Well all except the front seam where I was placing the teddy bear and therefore couldn’t put a seam there, so instead I used the pattern to sew a seam up to the bottom of the pleats, which worked out great as it took out some of the extra fullness the pleating creates.

Et voila! the finished product, which honestly turned out far better than I expected, haha. I mean I have only done one other picture smocking project here, but that was over a year ago and I had so much help from my mum who sewed the whole romper part. This I did all on my own!

IMG_7962

Who doesn’t love a baby in old-fashioned clothes? I mean have you seen my pinterest board? I live for this style. Especially for peter pan collars.

IMG_7950

Not to mention dainty little baby sized buttons up the back of the outfit.

IMG_7958

 

IMG_7957

 

Sadly, the outfit is on the bigger range of 0-3 month size and Mr. T was born a bit smaller than that, but plumping up nicely! So he hasn’t gotten to wear it yet, but perhaps when it fits we can get him to consent to model it and send us a picture, because the only thing cuter than a old school outfit is a darling baby in said outfit.

A Birthday of Mine

We spent the last two weeks on vacation in Utah, really exotic, and I’m sure you are all jealous, but it was wonderful to see family and friends! We were especially there to celebrate The Grizzly Kid’s brother’s wedding, which was amazing, almost as lovely as his new bride. And I will post more on that wedding later, but we’re here today to talk about my birthday celebrations.

The day before my birthday my family went out to the lake with wave runners and kayaks and we spent the morning enjoying a cloudy, cool day in the perfect temperature water. People seem to think that Phoenix is a desolate wasteland, but just outside the city limits, this desert is stunning.

 

 

IMG_8182-2

We saw our fair share of wildlife too. Like the graceful jackrabbit.

IMG_8112-2

And the incredibly loud wild burros calling to each other.

IMG_8232-2

Plus there were plenty of cousins to play with,

IMG_8166

and no shortage of rocks to toss and put in trucks, which was Wallaby’s second favorite activity.

IMG_8272

His absolute favorite was being in the kayak. We stuck to the shallows, although it looks farther out, and The Grizzly Kid was always just out of frame.

IMG_8189

Wallaby was so at home on his perch.

IMG_8211-2

We played for hours with the only annoyance being the bees, who were out in hordes, but a lemonade cup set away from our camp kept them mostly out of our fun.

IMG_8128-2

The views are truly unique out here.

IMG_8118

IMG_8134

And then the day ended with one of the best rain storms that I have ever seen! It was coming down so hard for hours, this picture doesn’t do it justice.

IMG_8301

As for my birthday, the day started out right with Wallaby coming to our bed at 4am for some cuddles/feet in the face, so we returned him to his bed, and the day really started at 6am. We went for a morning hike—to take advantage of the slightly cooler weather, which was lovely, although the waterfall didn’t have a drop coming down despite the buckets it rained the whole night before. Then, a morning present from The Grizzly Kid that was just so thoughtful!

Later some of us girls went shopping, where my mother truly spoiled me, and took us out to lunch—the way to my heart is Chinese food. Family came over for dinner, and my sweet sister-in-law made the most delicious coconut lime pie that I requested! Notice Wallaby’s and my intense focus on that pie—like mother like son.

IMG_2591

AND let us not forget that the evening ended with seeing Guardians of the Galaxy, which was amazing! I thoroughly enjoyed it, and The Grizzly Kid loved it even more on his second viewing. Overall, it was one of my best birthdays ever, complete with all of my favorite things, and turning 24 was not bad at all.

Heirloom Sewing

Heirloom sewing means, needlework, hand done, time intensive outfits usually for little girls and boy. It often looks old-fashioned, which I love. And my favorite part of heirloom sewing is the smocking, because that is what my mother has been doing for decades and what I am slowly learning to do. Last year I made a Scottie Dog romper for Wallaby and I am working on another smocking project, but yesterday for church Wallaby wore the cutest little smocked outfit done by my mother some 18 years ago for my youngest brother who is now 20.

IMG_7916

And that is how this type of sewing earns the name heirloom, having been made almost two decades ago it still looks new, vintage, and timeless all at once. Plus Wallaby was very excited about the wheels (buttons) on his outfit.

IMG_7918

 

I love the thought of any skill being handed down from one generation to the next. What skills have your parents shared with you? Speaking of, I still need to learn to make The Grizzly Kid’s grandmother’s rolls and holiday candy! Those are traditions I don’t want to lose.

Toddler Bag

I thought about labeling this post, Carry it Yourself, but that sounds a little harsh. What I mean to say is that Wallaby is 20 months old today! And as such an advanced little creature he can certainly pull some of his own weight. I mean, he picks up his toys, and puts his dishes in the sink (sometimes), so why am I still hauling a diaper bag? Our little toddler doesn’t need much on little trips, a diaper, wipes, and water bottle (an Arizonan necessity), and maybe a snack for a longer trips. Sometimes I shove these things in my purse, but I hate when a diaper falls out while I am trying to find my wallet.

The solution to all our problems presented itself by way of his own little backpack! And boy did I start out with grand plans, like this adorable bag, but decided to scale way back, since I wanted it ready before our upcoming trip to Utah. So instead I used this super simple tutorial on making a drawstring bag, and it only took 15 minutes to whip it up and Wallaby LOVES it so win, win!.

IMG_7888

 

Can you guess which parent spotted this fabric at the store while I was looking for dress material? And once Wallaby saw it he got excited pointing at R2-D2 and said beep, boop, beep, boo, and it was decided.

And now he puts everything in it, like legos

wpid-imag0917.jpg

 

 

and can even put it on himself! If you count this attempt

wpid-imag0913.jpg

Overall it’s a good fit, took less than half a yard of fabric to make and will work until I can make the other backpack. Besides, who needs pants when you are wearing a backpack?

IMG_7898

 

Independence Day cont.

IMG_7686

Although it poured for hours the night before, which was unexpected in this desert, it was sunny the day of the Fourth but also so very muggy, making it feel hotter than ever. To keep us cool we had a large red ice bucket of waterbottles, and we tried out this red, blue, and white drink that felt more like a science experiment, but it works! However, it’s not a real party in AZ without water playing a role, so I had graciously filled a cooler with water balloons earlier in the day and had it ready, plus we pulled out the slip n’ slide for the little ones as our after dinner activity.

IMG_7750

IMG_7761

And with the kids outside we sent out their dessert to keep them occupied while they dried off. I got the idea to roll the ice cream sandwiches in sprinkles from here and using mini sandwiches was perfect for the little hands.

IMG_7658

 

And with the kids’ dessert taken care of, the adults were ready to delve into these beauties.

IMG_7774

I issued the challenge earlier in the week for all who dared compete that there would be a pie contest, with a blue ribbon up for grabs. We ended up with a blueberry, lemon meringue, peach, crack pie, and coconut cream. A wide selection that we cut into tiny slivers so we could try them all and cast our vote.

IMG_7776

And they were all delicious, making it terribly difficult to vote for just one. In the end the the lemon meringue won first, crack pie (which reminded me of pecan pie, sans pecans), took second and the other three pies tied for third, so they were clearly all loved. Here were the ribbons I whipped together last minute after I couldn’t find any to buy.

IMG_7646

With the pie settling in our stomachs we sent the kids back outside to try their hands at pinata smashing (a certain niece had a birthday on the first). Even Wallaby got in on the action with some help. Such concentration. Maybe he’s trying to activate his laser eyes?

IMG_7791

 

And no one was to be left out of the spoils. This is always my favorite shot of any pinata. There are no boundaries when candy is involved.

IMG_7797

Then there was a little lull where some of the younger kids were put to bed, Wallaby included, before were pulled out the sparklers.

IMG_7663

Isn’t that just the best printable from here? We saved a few sparklers for Walt, but haven’t tried them with him yet, and while he slept the other kids went to town. That included The Grizzly Kid.

IMG_7854

 

There were even a few fireworks in the backyard to end the day with.

IMG_7811

It was a very full and lovely day. And overall, with the help of the internet, it turned out to be a great success. I hope your day was memorable as well! And a grand thank you to those who have and do serve to keep our country free.