Saturday, December 15, 2012

Design over function

In the DIY world that is blog land, I see a lot of tutorials to make gorgeous stuff that really have no function. I enjoy reading about it, but not like I'd waste time, money, or supplies to recreate it.
It's when you have to use these things in everyday life that you get frustrated. Case in point:

The concept is great. Picture menu, neat inserts with great descriptions, horrible!!
The rivets and laminating have sharp edges and you can't fully open it to figure out what to eat. It's too distracting.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Wrapping presents

I used to think that the wrapping was the gift. In fact, often times, the wrapping was more costly than the actual value of the gift!

Gifts from me were always too pretty to open, so my friends would find ways to preserve as much of the elements as possible. I loved using Kraft paper, beautiful handmade tissue papers, cellophane, gold leafing, mini ornaments, chiffon ribbons, rhinestones, etc. I could incorporate almost anything into the wrapping of a gift.

Now that the majority of my gifts go to kids, or folks that whip out sharp pocket knives to slice through all the "fluff", I just don't feel like putting in the effort. Not that I don't care about wrapping, just that unless you're turning a significant age, getting married, or having a kid, don't expect more than commercial wrapping paper or a gift bag stuffed with coordinating tissue. Also, if it's a time when everyone is receiving gifts, you can bet all your gifts will have a theme so I don't have to stop wrapping just to label it.

Can you tell which are for Ella? Yeah, and the rest of Ryan's gifts are wrapped in silver paper. Ha!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Chocolate covered honeycomb

I was introduced to Violet Crumble as it was losing its presence in the US. If you've never had it, it's light, crispy, and delicious!

For some time there was a substitute, the Canadian version, Crunchie. But those have disappeared from shelves, too.

But guess what? You can still find comparable confections to satisfy the craving... in milk AND dark chocolate versions!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Holiday shopping

I usually don't shop at malls in December, but this year a few people were SO difficult to get the right gift.

I'm surprised how *not* busy the malls are. Ella didn't have to wait too long to ride the train.

Even the food courts have empty tables.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

More bags for gifts

I really love making bags! I like making Ella's clothes, but the idea of a bag that can be used multiple times without needing to be laundered gives it a utility factor. Although, I'm pretty sure Ella has used her pajama pants that I've made her over 10 times already. ;)

So I decided to make a more neutral bag for my friend's son. Although I considered making it more "boyish", he's still an infant and she would get way more use out of it.

The bag fits a PBK bento box and a Thermos Foogo. The bag isn't insulated, but I figure it'd be more for dry snacks and the Foogo itself is great* at keeping drinks cold for hours!

I adjusted the measurements from the last bag, since this box was wider and shallower, and to accommodate the drink.

Regardless of size, I just love the bag itself for its finished look. It makes me look like an awesome sewer!

*Not a product endorsement, just speaking from experience.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Champagne Brunch

I forgot to mention, yesterday we went to the Hale Koa Sunday Brunch, in celebration of Fridays birthdays.

It's one of the perks of US Military, Veterans, DoD Civilians, and retirees Nd their guests. It's a decent and affordable brunch that has free all-you-can-drink champagne, really delicious lamb, and house made ice cream. They do have the usual fare: omelet station, crispy bacon, petit fours, etc, but those other things can easily make it worth your dime!

We usually go to celebrate these birthdays since my mother-in-law loves lamb and my dad loves the value of the Hale Koa buffet (what can I say, I've been going since I can remember!). It's the best time to go since the holiday decorations are INSANE!

This year there were real gingerbread mansions, animated winter characters, picture ops, it's sometimes just worth it to check out the decor (we had our reception here 4 years ago ... every banquet hall had a decorated tree!! Less decorations for us to pay for!!)

Sunday, December 9, 2012

A breather, sorta

I took a couple days off from blogging. The past week was crazy and I was tired! Not to mention this was a very busy weekend. Friday was my father's and mother-in-law's birthday. With work and running around doing errands, by the end of the day, I was too exhausted.

Yesterday, we went out to get Ella's Christmas present. A Maxtrix bunk bed!

She actually wanted to sleep in her bed! She's too young to sleep in the top bunk, but she's allowed to play up there. She loves it. She slept in it last night, napped in it today, and during her "free time" today she played by herself in the tent.

I was able to work on lining Christmas envelopes and sewing Christmas presents, so more on that later this week. Well, maybe. Depending on how much more I need to get done for Christmas!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Happy anniversary!

4 years ago today, I married my best friend. We've only been legally joined for a third of the time we've been together, but it still gets better everyday.

Delicious Edible Arrangements delivered at work (at the precise moment when this prego-mama was getting hungry, too).

YouTube Video

Delicious Alaskan King Crab buffet dinners at the Oceanarium with a mermaid show.

A stroll around City Hall to see the Christmas lights.

What a wonderful day! I don't know what could've made it better. Oh wait, I do...

Ella darted to the snowmen and exclaimed, "Mommy, daddy, Ella, and brother!"

She's going to be a terrific big sis :)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Advanced skills?

Im really not sure what 2 year olds are supposed to be doing. I hear some kids can read by 18 months, but of the kids I can compare to, there's none of those genius levels here.

Ella does her own activities and I don't even have to ask her. That's pretty advanced in my opinion.


Coloring in objects:

She just sits down and starts doing things to occupy herself. I have to check on her because she can be so quiet, I don't even know where she is!

Prize balls

When I was a kid, my favorite thing to do was go to work with my "big sister". It's complicated, but I won't go into details at this time. There's a significant age difference, so basically, I was really young and she had a full on career.

She'd take me to work with her on the weekends, and we'd have lunch at Yum Yum Tree. I would always order the same thing - Teri chicken sandwich and fries. Sometimes we would go into Child's Play, an educational toy shop that I wanted my bedroom to look like.

On a few occasions she let me pick out a toy. I would always pick out a prize ball. It was basically a handful if novelty toys wrapped up in yards of crepe paper. Honestly, the toys were pretty lame, but the fun was in unwrapping it!

For some Christmas gifts this year, I decided to make my own prize balls! They're not as ball-shaped as I imagined, but hopefully they're still fun to open.

I added a rhinestone to indicate where to start unravelling. I made these for Ella's cousins. They usually give Ella a small gift, so I usually try to give them something as well. Last year, I made the older one a ruffle pencil pouch, with a set of colored pencils and an unruled composition book. The younger one, I made a set of those Anthro knock-off bracelets. I know it's not fancy, but handmade takes some time, so hopefully they realize the effort that goes into their gifts.

Again, since no one reads my blog, I can post what's in them!

It's all basically the same, but in different colors:

Each prize ball contains a shade of pink Essie nail color, a sparkly nail clipper, a nail file, a pair of handmade cabochon bobby pins, and two scented glitter pens.

Since they didn't grow up when prize balls were popular, I hope I don't have to explain that I didn't just give them a wadded up ball of streamers...

Monday, December 3, 2012

More gift making

I followed the Lunch bag tutorial over at Pink Penguin and turned this:

Into this:

I'm so glad I finally finished that clutch so I could lift the self imposed ban on making bags! I wasn't sure what to give my teenage cousin for Christmas. I really don't even know what teenagers like. Although, I know she loves everything Japanese culture like Anime, Taiko, and Obento!

This lunch bag was the perfect size for a double stack bento box/utensil kit I picked up on sale at Longs!

I don't know about her, but I would love receiving this as a gift.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Wet hair

This pregnancy has been tough on my hair. Last time, I had gorgeous healthy hair with minimal care. I could do no harm.

This time, it's so sensitive, even drying on the no-heat setting leaves the tips fried and frizzy. I even have to wash it everyday because my scalp feels so greasy and gritty. Basically I'm stuck waiting hours for it to dry.

I have a Twisty Towel, to keep my hair out of the way while I dries, but man that thing has seen better times. I quickly made one to replace it!

Using the old one as a template, I cut out 1/4" seam allowance on the finished edge of a towel folded in half lengthwise (after summer, Target has beach towels for like 5 bucks). I tucked in a small piece of elastic on the mouth end of the whale-shaped cutout. Serged the cut side together and that's it!

The whale mouth goes at the base of the neck and the tail wraps around the length of your hair toward the top of your head, then twists back down and is secured with the elastic.

So easy and cheap to make. No need to spend $15 for 2! A $5 sale towel makes 2 quickly, and you can easily arrange the scraps to make a third.

Quick and easy Christmas gift? Definitely!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Making presents

This weekend, I'm busy making presents!

Since no one reads my blog, I'm sure it's ok to post about it. My nephew really loves Cars, and his Cars pajamas. So much that if its in the wash, he'll wait, sans clothes, until the laundry is done.

I went out and bought a couple Cars long sleeve shirts and some fabric to make pants.

Ella tried them on "for size". I think that was a hint for mommy to make more for her!

Ryan thinks its funny that it seems we don't buy her pajamas anymore since it looks like she wears only stuff I make.