Friday, November 28, 2008

It was good.

I wasn't much looking forward to Thanksgiving this year. My husband and I decided we aren't up for playing the marriage game anymore (downswing), and my mother-in-law was already slated to join us. What to do? I was feeling mean and sad and negative. I most certainly was not going to cook for ANYBODY! So, I ordered our entire Thanksgiving dinner from the closest market. Although past years have yielded juicy, moist turkeys at my hands, I couldn't be pouring all this sad and negative energy into the meal this year and so premade it was. And let me tell you, it was good! One word of caution if you're considering this for the future. The meal is COMPLETELY FROZEN! I didn't know this. But fortunately, we picked it up a few hours before we'd planned too and had dinner ready by 5pm.

The best part of the day was going to the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium to volunteer to feed the community. We'd been there the night before as well helping to set up. The girls decorated the table covers along with tons of other kids and teens and adults too. And then we all helped to prepared toiletry kits filled with shampoo, conditioner, soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, lotions, socks, and washcloths. Attendees also received blankets, medical care, and haircuts. They could also shop for coats, shoes and all other articles of clothing. All for free. There was a petting zoo for the kids, a bouncer, arts and crafts, face painting. I'm telling you. It was great.

I have volunteered in the past both at the Midnight Mission and at the Fred Jordan Mission. This has been The BEST experience so far. The other 2 places have more volunteers than attendees. They are very, very well organized but all you can give is 15 minutes b/c they try so hard to accommodate all the people who want to help. The Santa Monica event was put together by the Vineyard Christian Fellowship on the Westside and they really needed help. On Wednesday night we were there for 2 hours and there had been people there before us and I'm sure there were people there through the night. On Thursday we were there for an hour. They had music and it was very festive. And unlike the missions' event, the focus was really on the people. Nobody cared about the mayor (although he is a juicy morsel) and I didn't see a single news camera. There were no sermons and therefore no hungry people having to wait for everyone to get their word and agenda out. The band was Christian and maybe they figured that's all the word they had to get out. It was a little disorganized and crazy, but such a great vibe. I'm looking forward to working this event again. My kids enjoyed themselves. My mother in law had a blast and this was her first time volunteering. She says she's going to look for something to do in NY now.

So although at first it seemed it was going to be sad holiday, it turned out great. My spirit felt good. We enjoyed doing this as a family. We ate and watched movies and had hot chocolate with marshmallows. It was good.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A few more pages

How cool is this? I bought this kit at one of the conventions I went to about 2 years ago.

Opens up into this. A little awkward to open and close at first.

And some extras.

A bit of scrapping

All year long has gone by without scrapping and now I've gotten together twice for some girl scrap time. I scrapped what I wanted and in no particular order. The Halloween pictures are from last year and the Naiobi pictures well, from 3 years ago. I have one other quick project I made that I still have to take pictures of. It's a treat!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Warm Leggers

(no elastic, lingerie elastic at top, 3/8" elastic at top, 1/4" elastic at top)

Naiobi keeps calling these Warm Leggers. She was quite thrilled with them. They're long enough to reach just over her knee if she wants. The longer pair were for Omari but she declined. They look cute as arm warmers too though. These wear all tights that didn't fit them anymore. I cut off the foot and and then straight across at the crotch. For Omari, I should have left the foot so she could wear them as knee highs. Oh well. All other pairs have been handed down to niece #2.

I purposefully buy colorful tights and socks for them b/c they wear a uniform to school and that's boring. Naiobi has outgrown all her colorful pairs and now only has boring ones. So this was a fun alternative today.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Take Along Patterns

Don't you hate when you get to the fabric store and either you don't know how much fabric you need or you see a fabric but can't really think what pattern it would go with? Here's my solution.

I bought a couple of 99 cent, plastic photo albums. I went online to each pattern website and copied the pattern photos into my photo software then printed them out on 4x6 photo paper. On the front I wrote the size range that I have and identified the different views.

I also printed out the pattern backs. Simplicity and New Look patterns are the best b/c you can cut them down to almost exactly 4x6. There is a little bit of maneuvering and the very edges might get cut off, but no more extra work is needed. Then I just glue sticked them onto the back of the pattern photos.

All the others need some work. For Butterick, McCall and Vogue I copied and pasted into a 2 column word document and eliminated as much of the info as I could. This took a lot of work. For the Jalie patterns, I just printed it out as it is, cut it down as small as possible and folded it and stuck it in behind the photo.

This is handy ya'll! I have one photo album for the girls and one for me. Now I just need some ideas on how to do this for the Ottobre patterns. I did think of printing out the pdf of all the patterns in each issue, and cutting them out and pasting them onto cardstock. But how do I get all the yardage info on? I'd have to hand write it or re-type it. If you have any ideas, let me know. And yes, I do need to know all the yardage requirements for all the range of sizes b/c I might feel like making something for some child other than my own.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The $6 Doll BunkSofa

Didn't do much this weekend and that felt nice. We hung out at a friend's yardsale on Saturday where we picked up a little shelf for a dollar and some free paint. Before we returned home we stopped at Home Depot and bought some sandpaper and paint brushes. The girls started in right away. Eager to sand and then start painting.

I'd seen the potential of this becoming a BunkBed. I had planned to make little mattresses and bed sheets. But they just couldn't leave all the other babies out. So it became a Bunk Sofa. And that is only the ones they could fit. A couple of larger babies had to find another spot to rest.

I thought I might sew this weekend but didn't. I made these arm warmers out of some toddler size Tights that are now to small for Naiobi. These are for Omari. I also made some leg warmers for Naiobi, also from a don't fit anymore pair of tights and they look kind of funky close up, but you can't tell the problems when they're worn. Gotta work on those. Will show pictures once I get a better pair. Meanwhile, Naiobi's pining for some arm warmers like her sister's.

And here's a picture of the salad Omari and I invented ourselves tonight. My kids love noodles (who doesn't) and I've gotten tired of eating plain udon noodles with broth (although they can eat it everyday), so I thought I'd use the noodles kind of like a pasta salad. We cut up some chicken tenders leftover from yesterday, sliced some purple onion, added Persian cucumbers at Omari's request, and some steamed broccoli and cauliflower along with the noodles. My original idea was to add Italian dressing to which Omari made a horrified face. She requested lemon, salt and pepper. But I wasn't feeling the lemon. I suggested the Olive Oil and told her that Adobo has salt and pepper and that's all we added. It was fabulous! She loved it and Naiobi ate, of course, just the noodles.

And here's a picture of Naiobi in her FAVORITE top. She wears it at LEAST once a week, usually twice and once as pajamas. If it's cold she wears it over something. And her new favorite shoes. A gift from my friend Elena.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Gymnastics Leotard: I. Made. This!

First let me start off with my thankful things:
4. Thankful for my right to vote (Yeah, Obama!)
5. For Happy Faces, those silly little things that make your kids straighten up at the threat of not earning one that day.
6. Thankful for Friends. Old Friends. New Friends. Those people who listen and sometimes just listen and sometimes let you have it. Those people. Thanks for your ears and eyes (cuz you know, some friends READ my problems via email).

Leotard Pattern is Jalie 2792
Just Look At THIS! I MADE THIS! Isn't it CRAZY that just an ordinary person can make a leotard? I was so intimidated by this and it was SO EASY! I swear! If you aren't constantly getting up from your sewing table to go see if there are any new bloglines or reviews up on PR, you can whip this out in an hour. No Joke! You would think it would take some high level of skill or some special machine to make one since you can't find one for under $20 and typically run closer to $40.

My girl was thrilled with it and proudly told everyone in class that her mama made it. Once the staff heard that, they were all checking it out incredulously. I mean, they were checking out the STITCHING! Not sure it was going to holdup to such close inspection, but they thought it was perfect.

I used only the girth measurement to cut out the size O because she fits into 4 different size categories if I take her measurements individually. She also didn't like the 3/4 length sleeve and she rolled it up, over the crook of her arm where it would rumple. My favorite: great butt coverage and very minimal pulling by her and, including the cost of the pattern, this cost me $20 and I have enough fabric left over to make 2 more.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Crafty things in L.A.

Just a couple of crafty things happening around here. I hardly ever hear of any cool crafty events nearby, so I thought I'd post.

First, The Urban Craft Center is up and running again. They're website in not quite up yet and this is from an email I received today. I'll have to check that out soon. (Katie A., this is your hood!)

And there's something called the Felt Club Expo at the Shrine going on on 11/16/08. This sounds really cool but surprising that it only happens 1 day. It doesn't say if there's a cover charge.

Messing Around in the Kitchen.

3. Today and everyday, I am Thankful for good health.

I am not a good cook. Sure there are some things I can make well, but they are limited and they are all recipes I've gotten from other folks. I can make Green Enchiladas with Flour Tortillas. A recipe I learned from my crazy friend Maria H. I can make Prisoner Pasta and Poached Salmon- both recipes from an ex-boyfriend, Max. And I can make this other salmon with this Cajun Seasoning and fresh Garlic and that's from an old friend, Quetzal. Oh and I'm pretty good at making soups. Maybe because I really, really love soup. I can also bake.

The most adventurous I get in the kitchen is eliminating an ingredient on the list, only because I don't have it. I almost never try and make something without first looking up a recipe for it. Before I got married, all I ate for dinner was 2 bowls of cereal. While I ate I prepared my lunch for the next day: Gorton's Frozen Grilled Fish Fillets, boil in a bag rice, and some frozen broccoli. It was good. Really. And I ate out on the weekends.

After marriage, I tried a little harder but basically stuck to those things I've listed above. Kevin is a way better cook, although he doesn't do it very often. Hmmph. And he is now starting to stick to the same things. No more stuffed bell peppers or turkey taco salads or grilled chicken on skewers... So what happened tonight was extremely rare. We eat frozen vegetables. At Costco they have this big bag of Normandy veggies but the girls only eat the broccoli and the cauliflower, leaving all the carrots and squash to me. I thought that I could probably make a soup with those. So I scooped out almost all the carrots and squash from the bag, went online to see what people put in carrot soup and made some soup! It's delish!

Here's the recipe. Sorta.

Carrots and Squash from frozen veggies bag
1/2 Stick butter
1/4 onion
1 clove garlic
2 celery stalks chopped
Sprinkle of cumin
4 cups water
2 1/2 T Chicken bouillon
1/2 cup half and half

Melt butter in a soup pot. add garlic, onion and celery. Saute for 3 minutes. Add Carrots and Squash and cook until no longer frozen. Sprinkle some cumin to taste. Add 4 cups of water and bring to a boil. Add bouillon and stir. Add half and half and bring to a boil again then reduce to a simmer. Cook for about 30 minutes til veggies are soft. Transfer veggies to blender and process then add back to pot and mix well. DA-licious!
On the sewing front, I received a Jalie leotard pattern in the mail today and traced one out for Omari. I also traced out different panty patterns for the girls, to see which I like best. I think I'm going to be taking 2 hour lunch breaks this week to come home and get some sewing done.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Thankful for the Breeze

I'm not having as hard a time coming up with things I'm Thankful for. There is a lot of small things I appreciate.

On day 2, I am thankful for cool fall breezes.

I keep my bedroom windows open all year long until I can't stand the cold. This is more of a problem when I'm getting up than when I'm sleeping as I tend to run a little hot. I was laying in bed last night around midnight, under my down comforter and feeling the cool breeze roll in over my head. LOVE THAT! I learned to love this from my freshman roommate, Amy from Bellevue, Washington. I also learned about down comforters from her. Amy was such a trip to me. She was white as white could be. She was funny and oh so sweet! She encouraged me to tell my mother "I love you" for the first time that I could remember ever saying it, to which she was incredulous. She also nourished a love for James Taylor. I'm sure I was a trip to her too. She spent a couple of days with me over Spring Break that year. My friends and I took her out to a house party, whereupon she witnessed her first shooting. I can't remember if it was a drive by or the kind where the guy's (cuz it's always a guy) just running and shooting, or in his car then pause and shoot. Nobody got shot.

Thanks Amy! Cool Breezes and down comforters remind me of you.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Halloween 2008

Naiobi and I
Omari and best friend Mary Poppins (her mama MADE that!)
Our PTA President. We were college roommates and roommates in grad school too.

And check out how much pull she has. One of our Costume Parade Judges was Assemblymember Mike Davis and a State Trooper
And another judge was Senator Mark Ridley-Thomas,(maybe our next LA County Board Supervisor. We'll find out on Tuesday

Omari and Olivia (I ended up finding a tiny poodle for her skirt too)
The girls and Uncle Sekou
Kevin's wearing a Greaser wig

The girls want to be witches next year. YAY!

Thankful for 30

So this post was going to be all about Halloween but when I read my blogs this morning, Mary was posting about how she was going to reflect on 30 things she's thankful for this month. I'm going to do the same. I think it's going to be hard! Mostly b/c I've been a little down lately and so when you're down, everything seems bad, even when they're not.

1. I am thankful for creative children. Who can come up with fun and entertaining ways to make their day interesting without involving me.

My girls get along very well together most of the time. The few times that they don't I tend to blow my top. I need to cool it. I also need to watch my tone of voice. I sound irritated a lot.

Halloween post to follow.