Thursday, June 30, 2011

sand castles

Bee and Lou came home from bible school back two weeks ago I guess (good grief this summer is flying by!) with these cute sand castles.  They built them out of a sandy playdoh, decorated them with shells and glitter and such and then they dried hard.  I asked the craft leader to please share the recipe and she very sweetly explained how google worked.  She perhaps just discovered it. 

So I googled it and found it was a probably a family fun recipe.  I would know that, except I canceled family fun last summer.  It was hard, but it's been ok. Anyway, here's the recipe:
  • 1 cup sand
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon alum
  • 3/4 cup water
  • Shells (optional)

  1. Add the sand, cornstarch, and alum to a saucepan and use a wooden spoon to combine them completely.
  2.   Add the water and stir the mixture until it is smooth and the cornstarch is dissolved.
  3.   Cook the clay over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. The clay should start to thicken within a minute or two. Stir more vigorously, being sure to scrape the mixture from the sides and bottom of the pan.
  4.   After about 3 minutes of cooking, the clay will have thickened to the consistency of play dough. Remove the clay from the pan. Once it's cool enough to touch, you can start sculpting. (For best results, use the clay within a day or two of mixing it.)
Our castles have dried so nicely, I'm just not real sure how to best display them.  Currently, they are on display on the kitchen counter, but I fear it's a seasonal exhibit. I really want to try this with my preschoolers.  I think letter s comes in the winter.  Sand might be a nice break from snow!

    Wednesday, June 29, 2011

    yard sale stuff and my vent

    I'm slightly frustrated this evening.  My camera card isn't reading.  I have bunches of pictures to upload.  I'm trying to get a weeks worth of posts done in the next two evening and I can't get any of the needed pictures.  But, I'm trying to remind myself that it's not lost pictures of a wedding or birthday or really anything that matters.  All of the shots can be replaced.  I just might not have photos or posts ready to go.  It could be my computer not working or my camera or a ton of other things.

    Similarly, at 3:45 this morning when the power went out when another large branch fell from our tree onto the power line running in the back of our yard, completely pulling it down, all I could think about was how the power company was probably going to take their truck right through our fence and my garden and how we were going to loose all the meat in the freezer, I should have been really thankful that at 4:00 in the morning,  while my children slept soundly,  three men were in the dark fixing my power line assisted by spotlights and headlamps so that I could have a warm breakfast and run the air conditioning. 

    Regardless, we have power and I lost no meat or garden plants and I have photos of this weeks yard sale finds.  

    I picked up two shirts for myself for $1.50 each and a glue gun and bunches of glue sticks for $2.00.  Mine is at least 17 years old and a mess.  At least this one has a trigger.

    I also found a box of cute linens.  I'll cut up the fabric for future projects.  Amongst them were these two cute his and hers pillowcases. 

    I'll cut them up... or keep them... or sell them... no keep them. 

    These were part of the mix that I got for 75 cents total.  

    And these guys.  They are washed and ready to go. 

    Tuesday, June 28, 2011

    almost done

    I feel like I have a dozen in progress projects.  Here's one that's stalled.  I'm hoping that if I share it, I'll get back on it and finish. 

    Here's the before.  It's a screen door insert.  We had two that we found in the attic. I gave one to another crafty friend and kept this one.  We toyed with the idea of using it in the garden, but my dear husband had a better idea. 

    like I said, it's not done, but here it is, a super large message center.  I misjudged how far the cork board was going to go, so only 4 squares got finished with that.  I thought the dry erase board was going to going to fill two squares also.  I would like to have more of the fabric covered squares with ribbon also.  I might do some chalk board too.   We'll see when I get back to it.

    Monday, June 27, 2011


    I just stink at giveaways.  I'm not sure what the deal is.  But because I stink at giveaways (and I say that because I had all of three entries) and am not the best business woman, I am making all of my entries winners.  That right, all three people who entered are winning a lovely prize:  my new Diego bag and Dora pattern.  

    So, I'm emailing Monday the pattern and directions to Danielle, my sister in law's sister in law, who blogs over at Thrifty Craftin' Mama. Also to Jess_Hak, who other than my grandma seems to be my most loyal reader, who blogs over at The Preschool Experiment.  She shares my love for the _ underscore_ and for garage sales.  Also to e.e.b.wyatt who I spent a lot of time in art class with in high school and I think was on my soccer team.  You think I'd be able to remember that better.  She found out about my giveaway from facebook.  Well, congratulations.  

    I guess that's that then.

    Sunday, June 26, 2011

    Saturday run and a strawberry treat

    The kids and I ran in a super fun race Saturday.  It was the colon screening awareness run and was the first race we all ran in just last year.  Several of my teacher friends and families from school were there, so it made for a good morning.  Our colon cancer survivor friend had a whole team there and we were so happy to be part of it.

    I got almost exactly the same time I got last year in the 5K and the kids ran in the dash.  The man who gave me the bags in March was there and when I thanked him again and told him that I'd sent them off to Africa, he gave me more bags.  I'll have to show those this week.

    We were supposed to go to a cook out that night, but we've been struggling with some behavior issues at our house lately, so we did not go.  I ended up with the treats we were going to take that just needed eaten. 

    I made some very similar strawberries last summer for Bee's birthday.  To make these yummy treats you need to have pretty large strawberries.  After washing a drying, cut off the very tip of the 'point' of the berry, so that they stand well.  Cut off the green leafs and gently cut and hollow out the berry a bit.  Fill with the delicious filling  (8oz cream cheese blended up with one container of marshmallow fluff).  I use a plastic baggie with the corner clipped.  These are topped with blueberries.  Last summer I topped them with crushed graham crackers.  They tasted just like cheesecake.  I'm pretty sure that the fact that there's fruit involved makes them healthy. 

    Saturday, June 25, 2011

    Mr. Happy Food Plate

     When Lou comes to the table for dinner, it doesn't matter what is there, he immediately says, "Ewww, gross, I won't eat that!"  Really?  I'm not a bad cook.  I don't make things purposely I know they won't like.  Lou is not picky, that's just his initial reaction for some reason.   He's sweet like that.

    Not lately though!   He comes to the table and giggles!  He little baby belly laugh giggles. 
    It sets a way better attitude at the table and I love it.

                     (roasted chicken, cooked carrots, blackberries from the yard, ketchup -for the carrots- he's weird)

     It's all because of this adorable gift a friend made for Lou for his birthday. We are calling his the Mr. happy food plate, perhaps he goes by different names at other homes.   I've asked her if she'll work up a guest post for us showing how she made this guy, so hopefully we'll be seeing more of him.  There's rumor there is a Mrs. Happy Food Plate as well.  Bee is certainly jealous.

                                 (fish, mac and cheese from a box and stuffed mushrooms that were divine!)

    Friday, June 24, 2011

    Class Quilt

    I just found this sweet idea this morning.  This class quilt from Helping Little Hands would make such a lovely class project for Bee's class next year.  Her school has a silent auction each fall where in addition to really awesome things like vacation packages and such are won, the classes each auction a group art project.  I wonder if I could get this put together in enough time.  

     Do you think her teacher would be overwhelmed if I emailed her in June about a large project we could get started the first week of school? 

    Thursday, June 23, 2011

    pattern added to shop (giveaway closed)

    I have listed my first pattern for sale in my etsy shop, Mama Bee Designs.  It's for the Diego Rescue Pack and Dora Backpack.  I'm super excited to have it completed and would love to give away a copy this week.

     If you have a Diego or Dora fan at your house then your little animal rescuer needs their own rescue pack or back pack!

    My little animal rescuer decided one day that she HAD to have a rescue pack. I scoured stores and online shops and I was slightly disappointed at the choices available. I decided to make one myself and was pleased at the results. While it does not turn into a hang glider, mud board, or hot air balloon, as does a real rescue pack, it’s pretty good for the amateur rescuer!  That was over 2 years ago.  My Diego rescue pack has continued to be one of my best selling items.  I have been asked several times for a pattern, but have just now finally got one together. 

    This pattern and photo tutorial will guide you through the construction of a Diego rescue pack and a Dora backpack. Both bags are made from less than 1 yard of fleece and sewn into a backpack with a top flap and either front or side pocket. It fastens with Velcro. I also included directions for a hand painted rescue patch as well as the 'face' for the front of Dora's bag. The Diego bag has one strap like Diego’s and is worn across the back. Dora's bag has two over the shoulder straps. 

    The directions are thorough and easy enough for a even a beginning sewist. Other supplies you will need include a small amount of sew in velcro, coordinating thread, and a small piece of thick fabric or canvas for the optional patch. 

    The pattern and directions are broken up into two pdf files. The purchase of this pattern allows you to use this pattern to make as many bags as you like, however I ask that you not email it to others or share or sell the pattern. I am happy for you to make and sell bags at craft fairs and such on a home based business scale. I ask that you not sell the pattern or completed bags on etsy. I already do and it wouldn't be cool. 

    So anyway, if you'd like to win a copy of this new pattern, leave a comment and tell me who you'd like to make a bag for.  Leave a separate comment if you are a follower.  I'll randomly choose a winner Sunday night June 26th.   GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED

    Wednesday, June 22, 2011

    garden and whatnot

    The garden is looking happy.  I wasn't so sure about it for some time.  What the rain didn't flood, the rabbits seemed to be eating.  Now, most things are established enough that they look like they are going to be ok. 

    Except this guy.  The cucumber vines must be tasty because they are gone.

    I took pictures last week and then already this week they needed updated.  So here are some yellow squashes last week.

    Then this week.

    Oh, we'll be grilling some of these up soon.

    The tomatoes are finally growing and filling out their cages.

    I put grass down this weekend on top of several layers of newspaper.  I got about 1/4 of it done and then I needed to take a break and scratch my legs.  We'll work more the next time we mow.

    Here's the watermelon last week. 

    And this week.

    Oh, a baby watermelon!

    The sweet potatoes last week.   Ignore all the weeds, hopefully the grass clippings will help with that.

    And this week.  There was awhile when I thought the potatoes were not making it.

    This guy last week,

    is an eggplant this week.  It's not so blurry in person.

    I thought these were green peppers, it turns out they are called 'grillers'. 

    The poor cantaloupe has been eaten down to almost nothing over and over.  It looks like it may be able to get a chance to grow.

    The pumpkins are coming up.  We waited awhile to plant them.  The package said 110 days to harvest.   That should put us ready for some pumpkins in early October.  Unless the rabbits eat them.

    The lone corn stalk has some friends growing near it but they are a month behind.  They'll probably never be close.

    The gladiolas we planted this spring are starting to bloom. 

    I don't have to steal these from the neighbors yard anymore.  We are the neighbors now. 

    Monday, June 20, 2011

    this dress brought to you courtesy of bible school

    Yes, this dress is brought to you courtesy of Bible School.  Not even our churches bible school, just a neighborhood one who was willing to take my kids for 3 hours every morning last week!  with a really good program and sweet leaders.

    Bee went to this bible school last summer and loved it and I had signed her up again this year.  I knew Lou wouldn't go, so I didn't bother.  He's weird with me leaving him places, knew places, new people, people in general, using ketchup on non-ketchup foods, etc.  When we were dropping Bee off the first day he asked if we could stay and see the skit.  Sure thing buddy.  Then when the groups left for their activities, he asked if we could follow the preschool class and just see what they were going to do.  Turns out they were going to play water races outside.  We sat and watched.  Then we followed them to bible story, snack, craft, and songs.  As long as I was close, Lou would somewhat participate. I'm sure I looked like the crazy mom who can't let go, but I know my Lou and I know he's the crazy one.  The next day he wanted to go and I stay 40 minutes before he said I could go home.  I cleaned the basement and organized the laundry room.  Awesome.  He cried 40 minutes that night about how I had left him at bible school.  Not awesome.  The next day he wanted to try again (it was wacky water Wednesday).  He told me to go home after about 30 minutes.  I cleaned the upstairs and gathered things for our yard sale.  Awesome.  The next day I had to stay 40 minutes again, but came home and sewed. By myself.  In a clean house.  Extra awesome.

    Last summer I tore this picture out of a magazine at the gym.  If you're at the gym reading a magazine and really into an article and then you flip the page and find it's been torn out, it was me.  I tore her out and pinned her up in my sewing room.  

    This pattern came to be round about.  While at my in-laws, Bee grabbed a pile of patterns from upstairs and either Grandma or Grandpa said she could take them home.  Or she just told me she could.  Either way, when we got home and I went through her bag this pattern was in them.  I let her keep the pattern for the 1970s wedding dress and I snagged this one.  It seemed sort of like the magazine dress.  I assume my mother in law made this dress up at some point too.

    I chose black knit from my stash.  It was in the pile my Grandma sent me home with 2 weeks ago.  I had 2 hours roughly and was pretty sure I could figure out the less that detailed directions.  They were old school from when more people sewed and were familiar with clothing construction.  I'm used to more details and photos to guide me along. It was my first attempt at a collar like this.

    I sorta guessed and tried and pulled stitches and tried again in a spot or two, but I think I got it together mostly correct. Either way, I love it. I love the way it hangs and how simple it is.

    I already have fabric picked out and a change or two I want to make for the next one.  Photographing yourself is always awkward.

    See how simple the sleeves are... They are like wings, which I've been seeing a lot lately. They are so comfortable!

    Then, just last night, I found this girl in a magazine.  The sleeve are the same and the neckline is similar before I added the collar.  The drape and knit fabric are the same.  I just need a plunging neckline and I'll be too trendy for my own good.

    There have to be more neighborhood bible school this summer, right?  

    Edited to add:  I wore the dress Sunday to church and Lou overheard me telling hubby that I had trouble getting the belt to lay right since it must have been slightly off grain.  Lou said, "Don't worry mom, my wife will be able to sew it for you."