Saturday, December 31, 2011

What Are You Doin' New Years?

who knew joseph gordon-levitt had such a lovely voice?

have a safe and happy new year!!!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Barbie's New Threads

my aunt has two granddaughters who love barbies and a daughter-in-law who was frustrated with how cheaply made the barbie clothes you buy in stores are.  after seeing a picture of some dresses i made for my daughter's barbies she commissioned me to make her some clothes as well.  i was excited at the idea and and jumped at the opportunity.  she hoped for 5 outfits for each granddaughter.  here's what i came up with using scrap fabric i had lying around and some online tutorials.

(note: i don't have a serger sewing machine, though i sure wish i did, but i made sure to zig-zag stitch all my raw edges so they wouldn't fray over time.  some of the tutorials didn't add it in their steps, some did.)

outfit #1 - barbies in jeans, blouses and jackets:

barbie fashion jeans or slacks: click here for link
this tutorial suggested sewing the seams with yellow thread, like real jeans have, and i skipped this step but i wish i hadn't.  i also wish i'd used a darker-wash jean fabric that wasn't so stiff, it would have made them more updated instead of looking like 90's mom jeans...

barbie jackets: click here for link
i skipped the collar on this one, i like how they turned out.

barbie cap-sleeve shirt: click here for link
this was my favourite of all the items i made.  they were pretty simple (the straps required a little bit of patience to sew on) and they turned out so well.  very modern, yet modest.

outfit #2 - barbies in blouses and skirts with back-packs:

easy barbie skirt (pictured on the right): click here for link
these little elastic waisted barbie skirts are easy once you get the hang of it.  they were so quick that i made a bunch extra for my little girl's barbies.
the skirt on the left was inspired by one i saw on the same site but there was no tutorial, i kind of made it up as i went along.

barbie peasant top: click here for link
the tutorial used a knit fabric but i have a heckuva time sewing with those so i chose the given cotton option instead, it was great.

i wanted all of my outfits to have 3 pieces, and since this was just a top and skirt i made up these little backpacks to go along with it (so there's no tutorial for this one, sorry!) and threw in some little laminated cardboard magazines and fashion books, too, which i had a lot of fun making.

outfit #3 - barbies in dresses with purses:

okay, so this outfit only had two items but i couldn't think of a third.  they're cute enough to get away with it ;)
easy barbie dresses: click here for link
these are the dresses that started this whole thing, they're so easy and quick to make and there's an option to keep them strapless or add little straps with ribbon or cotton if you want them a little bit more modest.  you could even add the little cap sleeves from the first outfit's blouse.  super simple.

pretty woman bag: click here for link
i didn't follow this tutorial exactly (or at all, really) but it was my inspiration.  i made mine more square-shaped.  they have a useable pocket inside with little snap closure, and i made a little barbie license and visa card to go along with it, just for fun.

they'll have so much fun shopping at the mall and they'll look good, too.

outfit #4 - sporty beach barbies:

barbie tank top: click here for link
these silly tank tops were a total struggle.  i decided to make them with two layers to make them less flimsy, and close the back in too so they could be pulled over barbie's head instead of velcro up the back.   i dislike sewing with knits so much, it got really frustrating when my machine would try to eat it.  i ended up sewing it over a piece of paper and then gently ripping the paper away but it was such a problem.  they both worked out in the end.  i printed the little hearts onto iron-on transfer paper and sewed them on the front for decoration.
for the shorts i used the same tutorial as i did for the jeans in the first outfit, only short.  i'm very happy with the way they turned out, they fit barbie amazingly!

barbie cap: click here for link
my other favourite item.  i didn't expect these to turn out, so i held my breath and went for it!  they were much easier than i'd anticipated.  my only beef is that the tutorial didn't include exactly what size circle should be cut out for the hat, so i made it up and it happened to be right.  yay me!  the circle i used was 4.5cm (1 3/4") in diameter, and i used about a 6cm (1/4") seam allowance.  barbie has such thick hair if it's in a low pony or a braid this hat won't fit, haha.

outfit #4 - fancy barbies:

i really wanted to make a wedding gown but i also wanted to make an evening gown, so i compromised and made one of each!

for the wedding gown i used the same pattern as the easy barbie dress (click here for link) only i made the bottom half longer so the dress would be floor-length.
i also invented a train for her head.  it didn't look as much like a wedding gown without it.
this fabric i found was perfect for this job.  my mom gave it to me a couple years ago, it was scraps from an advent table display from church one year.  until now i had nothing to use it for.  yay scraps!

i also used the same easy barbie dress tutorial for this dress (click here for link), and made it floor length again, but instead of cutting the bottom half as wide as called for and gathering it in i made it just a little wider than the top piece (to give her hips some room) and added darts to fit her waist.  then sewed the top and bottom together the same as the original tutorial.

and there they are, 5 outfits for each granddaughter, my aunt was very pleased with the clothes and i hope her granddaughters will be as well!

and a special thank-you to all those ladies who shared your wonderful barbie clothes tutorials with the world!  they were certainly very helpful to me!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Great Room Amalgamation

so we've moved our kids into the same bedroom.  if you want to catch up, all the reasons behind the change is in the last post.
it started out a little rocky, i'm not gonna lie.  there were evenings that colin and i looked at eachother, grinned, and said, "this was a terrible idea."
the process was difficult, in the first place, because of elliott's ikea kura loft bed.  it's been taken apart and put back together 3 times or so now and the screws get a little more stripped every time.  it had to be fully taken apart this time as well just to move it 15 feet away.  i'll sugar coat it and say that this was a challenge for colin.  after some sweat, a couple glasses of cold water, a large beer (and maybe some swearing under his breath) elliott's bed was set up in molly's room.  i was so happy with the look of it, the window isn't centered to the room but when both beds are tucked in opposite corners the window is centered to the beds.  their dressers both fit at the feet of their beds, and molly's table and chairs fit nicely in between with their book shelf.  it all felt really meant-to-be so we were pleased.

then came the problem: miss molly went from being the easiest to put to bed to the most difficult to go to sleep.  i think she was so excited to have an overnight visitor in her room that she was too interested to sleep.  she'd yell, elliott wouldn't be able to go to sleep and he'd come out complaining, one of us would go in and tuck elliott back in bed, meanwhile molly was yelling so we'd go over to tuck her back in, meanwhile elliott would call us back over to his bed where we'd whisper hushes to him, and once again molly would yell... and on it went.  for a week or so.
the good news was if molly woke up during the night elliott would sleep right through it all.  the bad news was that if elliott woke up during the night molly would too.  they both went back to sleep easily though.  another challenge was with elliott waking up in the morning.  he has a clock and knows he can't come out of his room until the time starts with a 7.  so he'd come out, but not quietly.  then she'd wake up, which was a negative because we were used to her sleeping until 8:30 and if colin's already gone to work she won't let me shower.  and i need my shower to feel happy.
anyway, it's been about a month now, maybe, and it's going well again.  they've both gotten back into their routine sleep patterns, we've been putting her to bed a solid 20 minutes before him and she's in a deep sleep by the time he comes to bed, so she doesn't yell and he stays very quiet.  they're both sleeping through the night again, thank goodness!  he's also learned to sneak out very quietly in the morning so she can sleep until her usual 8:30.  it's sane again in our home.
elliott's old bedroom is now a playroom/home office, which is kinda nice.  the upside is our computer is now out of our living room and it feels more spacious in there now.  the downsides are that elliott won't play in the now playroom because he's still afraid of the silly noisy furnace fan.  he won't play quietly with lego on the stair-landing during molly's nap any more (his favourite thing to do before the "fire") and he won't play his games on the computer either (his other favourite past time, and mine if i want to watch a show he can't watch with me).  we've come up with other quiet-time activities for him, but it's sad that he's so afraid.
we've followed all the supportive suggestions we've found online and all that's left is time, i guess, for him to get over the trauma.  sigh.
my parents turned on their fireplace the other night and elliott said to my mom, "um, i'm kinda sensitive to fires now..."  he's so cute.
i'd love to decorate the office now but i need better storage in here first, can't afford paint yet, and haven't found many inspiring playroom/home office ideas yet.  it's been a busy month!
anyway, that's the update, as promised.  sorry it was so wordy, i tend to ramble!  but that's what blogs are for, right?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Shared Boy/Girl Bedroom

i disappeared for awhile there, oops.  i didn't go anywhere, i haven't even really been busy... maybe that's why i'd had nothing interesting to write about ;)
we live in a legal 2 bedroom basement suite.  we own it, actually, we went in with my husbands parents and we have 1/3 of the house and pay 1/3 of the mortgage.
elliott's bedroom is at the end of our hallway behind a fire-door that was actually not part of our suite, it was intended to be an office for use by whoever is living upstairs.  we built a door at the top of the stairs, and now being able to use that room makes our suite a 3 bedroom suite, which was a prerequisite for us when we moved here.  we wanted each of our kids could have their own bedroom, mostly so they wouldn't wake each other in the night (when we moved in elliott was 3 and molly had just turned 1).  elliott's room has been great for him, his little ikea kura loft bed fit perfectly on one side, his dresser under the window, and two shelves full of toys, it was all he needed.  that room also has the furnace room closet in it, which is really noisy when it comes on but has never been a problem for elliott before.  until now.  nothing like a traumatic incident to scare an already sensitive kid into not liking his own bedroom anymore.  let me explain:
last week during molly's nap elliott was playing with toys in the living room where i was watching tv.  i wanted to watch something he wasn't able to watch (i'll admit it, it was gossip girl, tee hee) so we grabbed his toys and i went with him to his room so he could play in there.  the fire door had been closed and when we opened it his room was full of smoke.  i quickly scoured for all light sources that may be producing the smoke and discovered that it was coming from a lamp in the corner (that looks like the one pictures over to the right--->).
i looked inside the top and there was a glowing, almost-on-fire pair of pyjama pants that had been accidentally tossed into the uplight.  i rushed the jammies into the bathroom sink and soaked them so they wouldn't catch on fire, then unplugged the lamp and ran it outside, and opened all the windows.  although nothing bad ended up happening the whole thing really shook elliott up, poor guy.  just the thought of it or the lingering smell of smoke would cause him to power-frown and tear up. suddenly every strange smell and every noise has him remembering it, and the whole past week has been a struggle at bedtime, it's been taking him a really long time to stop crying long enough to fall asleep, and he's been waking up scared every time the furnace starts.  we've read the advice and followed all the suggestions, but nothing seems to be helping.  so, since molly has been sleeping through the night now, we thought maybe they should try sharing a bedroom for a night, see how it goes.  well elliott LOVED that idea, and molly said, "sure!" so try it we did.
we put his mattress on the floor of her bedroom last night, had his sleepy kitty and his own bedding and pillow to make him comfy, and said goodnight.  it took a visit or two for them to quiet down, and just when we were about to give up they both fell asleep.  it wasn't the best quality sleep for anyone in the house, elliott woke up crying once or twice still and tried to come out way too early in the morning, and molly woke up twice because of him and once on her own.  thankfully, she's easily comforted back to sleep, and when she cries at night elliott doesn't even stir.  it just may work.
so we're planning to try it again tonight.  if all goes the same as last night or even better we'll officially move him into her room so they can share.  that frees up a whole office-sized room that we might be able to fit a hide-a-bed or at the very least our computer desk and the kids toys.  this excites me because it'll free up our living room a little if we move the desk out, i'll get to redecorate an office/playroom, and i'll get to have a blast coming up with ideas for making a cohesive shared girl & boy bedroom.

thank goodness for pinterest, i've already been searching it this morning for ideas now that this is a real possibility.  here are a couple that i've pinned:

neutral walls, colour appropriate bedding, and my favourite idea is the matching gender-specific pictures above their beds, it makes the room a little more symmetrical.

i'm not the biggest rainbow fan but i like how the banner ties the boy side colours and girl side colours together.

when molly moves from her crib to her toddler bed it'll fit perfectly like this under elliott's ikea loft bed, it would free up more floor space to play

because "girl colours" and "boy colours" in one room can get a little too colourful for my taste i love the idea of making the room really neutral like this room, and then adding in a pop of colour here and there

grey, natural and this pale greeny-blue would work well for a girl or a boy

if any mom's out there have any advice for kids sharing rooms, or more specifically for a sister and a brother sharing rooms, or decorating ideas, please comment and share!  i'll (hopefully, no promises;) keep you posted!  at the very least, if we go through with this change, i'll post pictures when it's all done.
i'm excited about this.  last night i was nervous and skeptical but this could really happen!  i hope no one thinks we're freeing up the office for a nursery.  we're not.  i promise.  not on purpose, anyway...

Monday, October 3, 2011

Ikea Rykene Hack

have you heard of "ikea hack"s?  i love this website: ikea hackers.
colin and i love ikea, our house is like an ikea showroom.  it's stylish, most pieces double as storage, and it's inexpensive.  we also love the idea of turning something old into something new with a little elbow grease.
the plan was to hack our ikea rykene bed frame into something more modern and stylish.  we were going to change the shape of the headboard and make a new, homemade headboard using plywood, cotton batting & black fabric to attach to the back.
we documented our hack in photos, enjoy:

from $71 in supplies (thank goodness we kept our receipts to return it all!) to a $219 ikea malm bed frame instead.
the finished result wasn't the original intention but we're very happy with the results :)
have you ever started a project that didn't end the way you wanted it to?  have you hacked anything that worked out perfectly?


here's what typically happens when i want a manicure:

  1. i wait until naptime to even bother starting.
  2. i trim and file my nails.
  3. i apply a coat of clear polish so it doesn't look as ratty when it starts to chip and wear off
  4. the kids wake up early and i manage to smudge my wet polish.  sigh.
  5. by naptime the next afternoon my cooking, cleaning, dishwashing & diaper changing has chipped the tips off all my polish and it looks gross.

the last time i went to visit my esthetician sister in kelowna she gave me a manicure using shellac nail polish.  it dries within minutes under a UV light so there's no need to worry about smudging your beautiful wet nails leaving the salon.  best of all, it claims to last for 2 weeks without chipping.  i thought it sounded too good to be true so i decided to put them up to the stay-at-home-mom challenge.  at any given time of any day i'm in dish water, diapers, bath water, cleaners, and constant hand-washing, etc.
here's what they looked like the day after having them done:

August 21st
August 21st

they were gorgeous, they looked and felt almost like gel nails.  even my sister-in-law noticed them from across the room.
here's how they looked 14 days after having them done (excuse the ratty cuticles).  they've grown out a little but not even one little chip on the end.  not a single one!  i was so impressed.

September 3rd
September 3rd
i was unsure if trimming & filing them would cause them to chip so i waited until i'd gone the whole 2 weeks so i could get the "after" pictures, and then decided to tried it out.  they were perfect.  besides growing out from my cuticle they still looked freshly polished and lasted another week before the first chip happened.
and with the polish-remover kit that gets sent home every time you get the shellac treatment the old polish was very easy to remove.  the only downside?  it can only be removed with acetone.
and it only costs a little bit more than a regular manicure, completely worth it for a manicure to last 3 weeks instead of 1 day!
so (now i'm talking to you, summerland ladies), if you want the best manicure ever from the best licensed esthetician, visit my sisters brand new beautiful Plum Tree Eco Spa in kelowna!  maybe go as a group and make a fun afternoon of it :)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Live Interior 3D

one year for my birthday (or for christmas, i can't remember now) my husband's brother and his wife bought me one of the most thoughtful gifts i've ever received, design software for mac where you can design homes and interiors called live interior 3D (standard edition).  it's a little dated, the finishes and furniture aren't current but with a little fiddling you can change the sizes of everything and paint it whatever colour and make it look great.
it's so much fun, it's my favourite thing to do if i have an hour here and there to fiddle around on the computer.  i've used it to virtually redecorate and rearrange furniture in our house (to help visualize it before doing any of the work), i used it when we were thinking of building a home and i turned a simple 2D website floor plan into a 3D model on my screen and plugged in all of our furniture to see if it would be a good layout and fit us and all of our things comfortably, and lastly (and my favourite) i've used it to come up with dream homes for me and my family, filled them up with furniture and made the colours and finishes everything we would love if we, say, won a lottery and could build a custom home some day.
here is my latest creation, a 3 bed + den 2.5 bath rancher, to give you a taste of what this program can do:


Dining & Living Room

Open-concept Kitchen, Dining, Living Room

Side & Back Yard

Master Bedroom

it's a rancher but looks kinda like an open concept loft inside, we love exposed brick, large windows.  the pool was just an added day-dream because hey - why not?!  if someone gave us a million dollars today this is what we'd build.
now to go virtually build more!  it's so fun!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

A Day In The Life

i am a stay-at-home-mom of 2.
yesterday i took photos of whatever the kids and i were doing every hour for 14 hours.
here is the photographic portrayal of a typical weekday in our house.

peruse pinterest in bed while waiting for the hubby to finish his shower

get ready for the day

breakfast with the kiddos & my morning cup'a joe

snack time picnic in the park

play-time, games time

load dishwasher with lunch dishes

one learns how to print numbers & letters while the other naps

relax in front of the tv with my sketchbook

wake-up from a short nap to play

a quick (and challenging, as you can see) game of hide-and-go-seek

delicious dinner at the in-laws

play-dough dentistry with grandma & grandpa

run an obstacle course

wind-down before bed with a relaxing game of zelda

Friday, September 16, 2011


here he is on our wedding day in june of 2007, my best friend, my husband.

Day 5: Best Friend
because it's a more detailed piece and it's been a busy week, i took an extra couple of days to finish this one.  the 30 day drawing challenge will not be completed in 30 days unless i can rush a couple and catch up ;)
the one thing this challenge is missing is direction as far as style, media, getting me out of my pencil-drawing comfort zone, so every once in awhile i try a new way of drawing to see how it fits.  it bothers me to know it won't always work out but i'll post them anyway because a challenge is a challenge.