Monday, August 10, 2009

Amy Butler Cabo Halter

Last year my friend Catherine and I both made black sundresses from the Amy Butler pattern "Cabo Halter"- I think they are favorites to us both. This year I had a go using the pattern more literally, but still extended the length to make it a dress. It fits nice and snugly beneath the boobs so no bra needed-love that! I think I may add a little layer ruffly thing to the bottom to add a couple more inches. I left the edge unhemmed and zigzagged it, which I like, but think the extra couple inches will make it better overall. It is really comfortable, though it has to come on and off over my head since the only zipper I had wasn't long enough.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Birthday Craft- Part 2

Sometimes I wonder if I will be constantly moved by and in awe of my kids as they power through all the developmental milestones and persist on doing things in their own unique way. Will I get pangs of crazy love as they are posing indifference when they get out of the car to go to the school dance, professing their knowledge of some injustice taking place in the world like it began the moment they read about it? I guess I know I will. And as we made our way through the week before Ava's birthday - a birthday she had strong and clear ideas about - I had to step back and watch this great kid as she designed and planned the things we would make and do for her friends. Her grace and humor is not lost on me. Or, at least, it wasn't then. Like I said before, she is so capable now and all the things we did ended up feeling like a fabulous opportunity to connect. So, what may have felt like a huge time commitment in past years (when I was driven by my ideals and maybe too ambitious) just felt like fun.

I am happy for any opportunity to sew but was glad for the enthusiastic assistants as we made 10 little fat quarter totes for the goody bags. Ava matched the fabric with the friend (or sibling) and we whipped them in less than a couple hours - Ava at the machine sometimes, Harry on the pedal sometimes, but only me on the iron (I imagine she could be taught, but I am scared about burns). It was much more fun than driving to the store and Ava and Harry felt pretty proud afterwards.

They had a pretty notebook and pencil inside and extra room for the pinata loot.

What can I say? We all have apples on our minds around here.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

New in the Shop

Take a quick look in my Etsy shop to see a couple new skirts I just added. The brown one has 2 layers of the softest micro rib jersey ever and is made with four panels. The green one is a one layer skirt with reverse applique, and is 2 panels.

And then, if you have another minute, read about Ava's Birthday party. I just posted about that too!

Party Craft - Part One

Ava's 10th Birthday party was GREAT!!! We had so much fun getting ready for it and then it was so very sweet; we had just a super time with our guests. I love Ava's friends and they are easy to plan a party for. It threatened rain, as usual, but there was plenty of time to jump around on the trampoline, smash a pinata, eat loads of good food, and make this spectacular craft. I had a feeling it would go well, but was so happy when I watched everyone busy busy busy- the 4 year olds to the 45 year olds - crafting away. I chose a craft that was pretty open-ended in terms of creativity, but which had a specific direction to move in (so no one would feel frustrated or unsure of what to do). I showed them an example that I made, then let them loose. The only real instruction given was to draw their shapes on the backsides of the decorative paper so they would know what they were cutting out.


Ava's- oooh!

Mine - surprise! It's an apple!

Harry's - good use of that glittery black paper, don't you think?

These are to hang on the wall. I'm going to hang all 3 of ours together.

What you'll need:
-6" square pieces of plywood
-decorative paper
-mod podge
-foam brushes or paint brushes

Here are the directions:

1) Either cut up a piece of plywood into 6"x6" squares, or get something pre-cut at the craft store. Sand as needed.
2) Provide a big variety of decorative paper, scissors, pencils, mod podge, and brushes. I didn't direct anyone, but I think the wood looks really pretty if it's exposed, so you may want to say that to your crew before they cover the whole piece of wood. Just my preference, though there were some beautiful ones the kids made where the paper was totally covering the wood.
3) Design your art and lay out papers on the board until it is how you want it to be. Layering paper is encouraged!
3) Remove paper shapes and apply a thick base layer of Mod Podge on the wood..
4) Place your design pieces on the mod Podge, smoothing bubbles out with your finger. Glue down any layered pieces with more Mod Podge.
5) Apply an even layer of Mod Podge on top of everything to seal, with strokes aligned in the same direction. It goes on white and dries clear. The younger kids were a little worried.
6) If you want, you can use fine sandpaper to smooth out anything rough after first layer dries, then apply another thin layer.

It was sooooooo much fun! The kids were really happy with their final pieces of art.

Monday, August 3, 2009

The cake

I have always loved making birthday cakes. They are so decadent and special and you can make them so pretty. I have, however, had varied success on the actual yumminess factor, though they may look impressive with flowers and ganache and all that. I have been getting steadily better over the years and it is mostly due to my clear understanding that one should NOT decrease fat or sugar in attempts to make it somehow more healthy. I even use the dreaded cake flour sometimes, if a recipe that looks really good calls for it.

This year, for Ava's Birthday party, she requested a coconut cake and , let me tell ya, I found a humdinger (I never use that word, but really, this cake was soooooo good). I got the recipe from Martha Stewart Baking. It is a cake that uses shredded coconut as well as coconut milk (I actually used unsweetened coconut, and it was perfect). The frosting was a vanilla bean butter cream. Oh, and between the layers was a yummy lemony gooey spread. I don't know what to call it because it isn't a curd (no eggs, lots of cornstarch), which Ava finds "metallic" tasting. It was moist and coconutty and way sweeter than I usually go, but then my cakes are never this good, so, point taken. I will make this cake again!

The party was so much fun. Exactly what we hoped for. I will post some pics of the kids busy busy busy crafting. The project suited the group well and even the parents got in on the action.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

a decade

My girl is 10 today. A whole decade of watching this fabulous person be herself. She was so small, so curly and blond, and always so sweet. She is now such a strong person, so full of ideas and the need to create, explore, and be silly. She is easy to know and those of you who know her, know her well. She loves being a kid and I'm so glad she is in no rush to be older.

We both have always loved getting ready for her birthday, and this year she is so darn capable, I had all sorts of help and we did a ton of fun things together to prepare for her party, which is tomorrow. Check back soon for pictures of our crafts and pinata and all the other good birthday things.