OK---next project for the Summer of Awesomeness.....sandcastles!
I rarely get the opportunity, but I love building sandcastles.
If you're far from the sea, try a castle candle holder like this one from Terry's Village.
Or you could make a sandcastle cake using brown sugar, like this one from Buffy & Co.
Or the Little Mermaid's castle necklace from Disney suppliers.
This is great from Old Gold Boutique.
This is so creative (and I'm sure kids will gobble it up)--a sandcastle quesadilla from Meet the Dubiens.
I was browsing through old family photos and trying to find a photo of me with a sandcastle. I couldn't find one, but here's me climbing my dad at Ink's Lake State Park. You can't see it, but we're right by the shore. I loved the water, and I think that's where I learned to swim. Check out his 70s finery and my strawberry bikini. We were stylin', I tell you.
Here's Violet at about the same age.
She's dancing with her former nemesis. I'm glad they made up.
More than anything, I just want to capture that feeling of being a child on a beach creating an imaginary world. It's so fun to be a kid and think that anything is possible. Find that however you can----write a poem, build a mini sandcastle in a bowl with garden sand, take a drive out to the seashore, or have a snowcone and relive childhood summer memories.
Do you guys like Pinterest? It's an online way to share images. It's like a visual scrapbook.
For example: If I am planning a party for Violet that is circus-themed, I can make a Pinterest board called 'Circus Party'. Then, I can put images from all over the web on that board so I can look at them all at once. I could have images of food, decorations, balloons, invitations---whatever.
The page on Pinterest might look a little like this:
For me, it works because it's a lot easier to see everything all at once. I don't know about you, but I bookmark a LOT of images, and my bookmark list gets WAY too long. This way, it's all neatly organized by subject.
Here is my first Pinterest board called "Library Love". Click the link to get an idea of Pinterest works. I want a home library some day, and this is an archive of images that inspire me.
P.S. You have to sign up first before you can view images, but it only takes a second.
Also......if you want to be extra safe, call your non-911 emergency numbers NOW to confirm they're correct. Of the 6 emergency numbers I tried to call during the fire (from the phone book) only ONE of them was correct. That's FIVE incorrect emergency numbers in our phone book!
Now, I hope we just happen to have the retarded phone book, not you, but still----it doesn't hurt to check the numbers today, rather than when your house is burning down.
I went outside to get something out of my truck, and noticed there was smoke in the air. I called the fire department in the next town, and they said that a wildfire was burning near my home. The wind was blowing it towards our property, and everything is dry as a bone.
I packed up everything valuable thing I could and was ready to leave. I ran out to the porch every few minutes to see how things were progressing. I also drove really quickly to our gate to open it. In case the fire came onto our place from a different direction (wind does funny things) I wanted to be able to drive immediately through the road without having to stop to open a hot metal gate.
Adam was on his way home to help in whatever way he could. He drove separately to the fire area and I called the fire department again. Fortunately, the forestry service was working with our local fire department to cut a fire break, and they were able to put the fire out. It was less than a mile from our house, though.
I don't think my adrenaline has stopped pumping yet. I was so worried we were about to lose our home, the shop/studio we're building, and our lives might be about to change a LOT.
Fortunately, Adam and I may be two of the most plan-ahead control freaks on earth. We already had a list made up of what to do in case of fire. We store our checklist on top of a big duffel bag in a cabinet. We each made a list of what we wanted loaded up first. I wanted irreplaceable photos, a few pieces of family jewelry, art, and whatever musical instruments I could load. Adam wants his family videos, and back up discs to all computer things. I packed up our computer, financial records and important documents, and cameras, too. Without saying, Violet and the pets were first on the list. And Rascal the raccoon hat.
Anyway---I'm so relieved we didn't have to deal with a massive fire. I AM glad that this served as a very real-feeling fire drill.
Do you have an easy-to-locate plan for what to do in case of fire? (Or tornado, flood, or other major calamity?) These things are super boring to plan for, but you will be GLAD you have a plan on the day something catastrophic happens. PLEASE give it some thought. It could make a really horrible day in your life go a little bit smoother.
Just a few quick photos today---
These aren't spectacular, but they are in my size, and Violet's size, and are the same color. I thought they might come in handy as the base of a Halloween costume. Maybe they can be hacked and embellished into cute dresses for everyday.
Again, two gowns that are great for costumes or play clothes. Also, for froo froo portraits, these can be gussied up with feathers or faux jewels or other props. I never really grew up out the 'dress up' phase....did you?
Long, satiny gowns for a quarter--I just can't turn them down. I think I'm going to have a little girl with a very fancy costume wardrobe. I would have loved that as a kid--I hope she does, too. Violet may turn out to be a tomboy, though. Either way, I'm glad I have them around.
Grand total for 6 dresses---$1.50
Hi there! Let me introduce Charlotte and her blog, Seahorse Ranch Life. She is a fellow Cancerian. We seem to be collecting several of those around here! She lives in the chilly northwest and hasn't really been able to experience much summer this year. Truth be told, I'm a tad jealous. She's also one of Violet's fairy godmothers. She has a sharp sense of humor, open arms to everything in the animal kingdom, is oh-so-stylish, and has a warm and witty attitude.
On to her post! -Laura
SUMMER OF AWESOMENESS
Hey there! How's your Summer of Awesomeness going? I just wanted to check in and see how you're doing. If you have a link to anything you've done or want to do, let me know. Or, just say hello in the comments and let us know how your Summer is being Awesome.
Remember this jumper? I made Violet something similar from my stash of vintage lace. I like how it turned out, except it's pretty hard to get on and off. I think I'll have to redo the straps to make them either elastic or have buttons.
I'm not sure what this is, but I think Devil Bug will work. Isn't that the most evil looking insect? As it was chomping the other bug, it kept making the most revolting undulation of its abdomen and stinger. What a gross bug! Thank goodness bugs are small. Can you imagine an eight foot version of this out on your porch? Sheer terror.
Naughty! This is what happens when I turn my back on her to answer the phone. I am still cleaning yogurt spray off things in the kitchen. I had no idea how far a 2 1/2 year old could sling yogurt. Impressive.
Violet, thank you for being neater this time. And, thanks for being so willing to eat anything! It sure makes her easy to cook for. We tried smoothies made from cucumber, avocado, basil, lime, and a handful of spinach leaves. I wanted to try a super healthy smoothie, but these ingredients made me nervous. They were actually good, though! She slurped this up in about a minute.
Oooh!!! A rainbow of pillows from That Funky Boutique on Etsy.
I can't quit looking at this website, Married to the Sea. You can search the archives for more treasures like this. Be warned, though---some of these are pretty lewd, so it's not a site to share with the kids.
More quarter clothes!
I liked the butterfly print. I can make Violet a little dress, or make gift bags. When I sell my decoupaged bracelets on Etsy, I package them in fabric bags. This might make a nice set of bags.
I grabbed a pile of rich colored shimmery fabrics. I have a project brewing in my head for these, but it hasn't quite formed yet. Do you have little infant projects living in your head, too?
And who could turn down this adorable baby formal set (still had new tags on it!)? The purse is really cute and summery, too. I like the clear heart charm with the red anchor. I might turn that into a necklace. I've been wanting a big red straw hat with a stiff brim. Not a cheapo roll up one, but something like this. The purse and some sky high wedges would go great with it.
Welcome to Maria from the blog Third Floor With Water View. A disappointment of my summer was that I didn't get to meet Maria when she passed through Texas. She was going through Amarillo, but Texas is pretty dang big, so that's still about 9 hours from me.
These photos are cracking me up. I suddenly feel very inspired to find some kitsch. Anything large, weird, and hopefully tacky will fit the bill. Thanks, Maria!
Summer of Awesomeness Guest Blog: ROAD TRIP!
Well, our bee problem is solved. The 'expert' says they are bumblebees. They are typically ground-dwelling, so the nest in the bird house was unusual. We're in the middle of a terrible drought, so he thought they might have relocated to try to find water. That birdhouse is pretty close to a pond.
He agreed that they are very aggressive. He said that bumblebees don't lose their stingers when they attack, and are capable of stinging multiple times. That would explain why no one had any stingers even though they everyone had many stings.
SOA Project completed----POPSICLES!
All right, Sarah---here are our popsicles! Adam actually made the very first batch. We called them our "Fourth of Julysicles". YUM! They were made of simple pureed strawberries, a creamy Greek honey yogurt layer, and a sweet layer of pureed blueberries.
Taking advice from Jill's SOA post, I've been making more time to enjoy life as it comes. I'm trying to remember to take a moment to watch the sunset or the moon rise.
Aren't these clouds radiant? Photos hardly ever do 'the moment' justice, you know? It's so awe-inspiring to stand under a sky like this.
SOA Project Completed---Get motivated and finish something.
Bettina suggested that getting on with it can do wonders for your project list. I' ve been wanting to make some business cards for my decoupaged luggage/jewelry line. I decided that it was high time to get on that. (Thanks, Bettina!) Since we'd be traveling to Chicago and spending a bit of time in airports, that seemed like a good opportunity to have cards available.
It feels good to get a project completed, even if it's small. I like the satisfaction of checking something of my mental list of to-do's.
I made a 'mermaid cake' for my friend Sarah and her daughter Meredith. They pet-sit for us while we were in Chicago, so I tried to bribe them with sweets.
It was a basic homemade vanilla with coconut and lemon zest. The icing was pina colada-flavored buttercream. The cake turned out a little dry---argh! Still, cake always takes good. Even crappy cake.
I loved the ruffle cake below from Sweetapolita.
Obviously, mine's nowhere near this gorgeous. It was my first try, though, and it was fun to make. I think I'll try it again in the future with a different color. Maybe a dusty, subtle lavender for Violet's birthday with deep eggplant and plum colored icing.
Is anyone else addicted to paint chip samples? I simply CAN'T walk past a paint counter and not grab one. I think I spent a lot of time in hardware stores when I was little, and the paint chips kept me busy while I was bored. Sitting in the bottom of a push cart full of plumbing supplies and lumber gets pretty boring when you're 5 or so.
I got to use my Dia de los Muertos placemats! (Note added later: Pardon me, Happy Catholic Mexicans out there---I meant to say El Loteria placemats. I kind of lump all those bright happy things together. They all look good together.) They're so festive. Sarah used to live in San Antonio, and she's a big Day of the Dead fan.
Welcome to Stacy Ross from Play Pretties. Stacy makes me LAUGH! She has one of those homes that is so full of neat stuff I have a hard time not opening drawers and bathroom cabinets. Also, anyone who photographs dead bugs in vignettes has my friendship vote for life.
Now on to her guest blog post.......
Violet was an angel on this trip. I am very, very glad that the tantrum phase is behind us. (I hope-- fingers crossed!!)
We're back from almost a week in Chicago. Adam had a family reunion there, since a lot of the members are located in the area. His family was fun and nice and welcoming---what a relief! I find it a little nerve wracking to meet a lot of new people at once, so I was happy they were so friendly and warm. Violet had a blast playing with all her cousins.
(photo from Daily Breeze)
Violent storms while we were there caused the worst power outage in Chicago's history. We had no electricity in our hotel the last 2 nights. We had to take ice cold showers and get dressed in the dark. Most of the other hotels had power outages, too, so moving wasn't a practical option.
One night, the fire alarms went off in the middle of the night. They were SO loud! I was shocked that Adam and Violet slept through it. I kept shaking Adam and saying, "Get up, honey! You need to wake up. There are fire alarms going off!" He would just grumble and roll over and say, "So, what you're saying is that you want me to get up?" Then he'd go back to sleep.
They stayed on about an hour, and the hotel was surrounded with fire trucks and policemen. They told us that the alarm systems run on batteries when the power is out. The electricity was out so long it caused the batteries and alarms to malfunction somehow.
(photo from Taigatrommelchen on Flickr)
The trains even had to stop several times due to power problems. Being that far underground freaks me out a bit. Especially with the trains losing power.
Chicago's subway (called the L train) was neat! Subways are usually not a part of my daily life. I always feel like I'm in a movie when I ride the subway.
Violet loved public transportation. She wanted to keep riding the airplane, the bus, the escalator, and especially the train! So exciting.
We spent most of the trip visiting with family, but Adam and I got to spend one day exploring downtown Chicago. I forgot my camera----argh! I really enjoyed Millennium Park. We saw the "Cloud Gate", or the Giant Bean, as everyone seems to call it.
We stopped into the Art Institute, and also enjoyed the Crown Fountains. There are two big walls that have changing digital images of real people from the crowd that take turns spitting water.
It was fun! I love public art that everyone 'gets'. I think that if the kids like it, you're probably on the right track.
This was the most beautiful panel--"Queen of the Elves", by Marie Herndl. I was unable to find a clearer image of it. It must be really hard to photograph. It's unusual because of how dark the colors are. The moon is the brightest point, along with the Queen's skin, and everything looks like it's really bathed in moonlight.
Adam and I almost don't consider this true stained glass, though. It is heavily painted, which gives amazing depth. Still, we tend to think of classic stained glass as ONLY using glass and led to make the shapes and colors differ.
The nicest part of my trip was getting to see two dear friends. This is Sally, from Sallyacious. She is one of Violet's fairy godmothers. She is as lovely and warm in person as she is on line. Thank you, Mister Internet, for making this all possible. Sally is a former professor who now does a ton of theater and leads a full and creative life. She was my NaNoWriMo mentor. We only got to visit over a quick delicious dinner at Delia's Kitchen (Amish Greek chicken followed by spumoni---yum!). I hope our next visit can last a bit longer.
I also got to visit my friend Summar and her husband Corey. He is a musician and music teacher, and she is a very talented actor and singer. I sure wish these people lived closer! They're fabulous and I miss them already.
On our way home, there were more storms. We had to sit in the plane on the runway for over 2 hours. Apparently, American Airlines has a policy that the outside airport employees can't work if there is lightning. The airport has to be free of lightning within a 5 miles radius for 15 minutes before people can get back to work. We'd make it to 14 minutes, then we'd hear thunder and have to start the time over. ARGH!
It wasn't too bad, though. Fortunately, Violet just took a nap and I got to read a book. I thought it was an interesting sort of sociological experiment. You get a lot of different reactions from a hundred people stuck on an airplane.
I'm such a homebody---I'm always so happy to be back home in my own bed.
(This is a day late due to computer issues.) More clothes from the quarter store....
I bought a big stack of rainbow colored t-shirts. I want to try some t-shirt refashion projects. Knits are great since you don't have to hem the material, and the end project is comfy and easy to wash.
This is a fun tutorial from Ruffles & Stuff.
Here is another---a child's dress made from an adult t-shirt at Create & Delegate.
That's all for today!
Especially if you pair it with a “Marie Antoinnette” dress. Awesome. (Two guys came out from the garage this is behind to ask us what we were doing. They were fine with it, although I’m sure they both told some stories about the two crazy girls taking pictures with tires that night over dinner)
It’s kind of a strange picture, I know. We did that on purpose – resplendent white and gold brocade dress in front of a pile of tires and rusty box springs. But isn’t it fun? Aren’t you glad that you got to see those tires as something cool, rather than just another heap of trash downtown? I am. We all need to appreciate what we have more, after all. As Mr. Fox says, “Sure, these gibblets are made from artificial squabs, and even these apples look fake – but at least they have stars on them.” (Fantastic Mr. Fox, 2010) So, this summer, I challenge you to go out and find something that you take for granted (or even downright unappreciate, like the tires), and find the hidden beauty in it.
Although I’ve been thirsting to leave Utica since about the moment we moved here, it really is a cool place. Apart from the utterly glamorous pile of tires, one of my favorite spots is the Uptown Theater. It’s an old theater that still has the cool golden molding in the lobby (and in the theaters, although we weren’t able to go in one, as there were features being shown in every theater), and in front of each screen is a little stage for the live pre-show entertainment that used to be the norm. One of the reasons it’s great is that it’s never quite as crowded as the chain theater ten minutes away – another is that the cost of the movie tickets and popcorn is actually affordable, and they sell their old movie posters for five dollars each!
There are also some great parks in the Utica area, and no matter where you go (assuming it’s not winter), there’s greenery. Flowers grow everywhere. You don’t have to work hard to find somewhere to skip a rock – which is another thing, I’ve realized, that I take for granted.
We wanted to go to MWPAI, the local arts museum/school, to take a look at their sidewalk art show, but it was raining a little, so most of the art was covered up. However, Marissa and I are much more water-resistant than charcoal and pastels, so we were able to take some pictures outside. It could be an archway…
Or, it could be an archway in a courtyard where a Very Intelligent Princess is having the time of her life away from her courtly duties and suitors!
And that could be a mere door… or it might be something more. What do you think was hiding within?
I haven’t the slightest idea what you might uncover, were you to open that door. When I tried it, it was locked.
One thing I do know, however, is that people only lock things up if they’re worth something. Bring your lock-picks, and find some beauty, people!
Hey there! Is anyone else having trouble with Typepad? I'm unable to post any photos---I can only post text. I want my blog back, please, Mister Typepad!
I've started a help ticket, so hopefully everything will be fixed soon.
Pros: -You get great smelling summery sun fresh laundry.
-It's cheaper than running the dryer.
-It's good for the environment.
Cons: -Let's be honest.....it's a pain in the butt.
-Clothes can fall off and get dirty.
-I've never seen this first hand, but I'd imagine birds might land on the line, and you know....
-In hot, dry Texas, the wind can get pretty dusty, and I'd imagine your clothes could get pretty crusty.
So----I may just file that under "nostalgic things that are better in theory".
Since one of the recent SOA ideas was 'get in the water', I couldn't pass this up. These underwater sculptures by Jason de Caires Taylor are phenomenal.
I hope you all have a great day. I sure am glad to be from this country. I think the vast majority of people in this country try to be good citizens, do the right thing, and love America. By far and large, I think we have a nation full of caring, responsible people.
I'm proud to be from a country where I can say what I want, disagree with whoever I want, vote for whoever I want, and strive for whatever I want. It makes me happy that no matter what side of an issue I stand on, I'm always standing beside you, as a fellow American.
Happy Fourth of July, everyone!
Welcome, Sarah! She's a genius in the kitchen, an engineer who is now staying at home with her daughter (Meredith, my Alice model for the Mad Tea Party), and my favorite friend in Greenville. That is, until (sniff) she put her house on the market. I've threatened to show up when they're showing the house and run off all prospective buyers.
"This house is falling apart. I helped Sarah wallpaper over a really big crack and some mold right here." "They've got rats." "Some guy is buried under the house and they've got ghosts." "The next door neighbors have Pit Bulls. And fighting chickens. And scabies."
Oh, and Violet is crazy about her. On to Sarah's post! -Laura
SOA GUEST BLOGGER SARAH CARTER
Who doesn’t have fond memories of eating ice cold popsicles on a hot, summer day? One of my five year-old’s favorite things to do is to not only eat popsicles but to make them. Starting in about December, she starts to ask how much longer until summer ... so that we can make popsicles. Making popsicles is fun and there are so many possibilities... classic fruit, pudding pops, striped, speckled, “adult”, etc.Popsicles can be made in simple paper cups but they are so much more fun in shapes. The ones that we have are shaped like stars. (Tovolo star ice pop molds...here are a few other cool options.)
Note from Laura: You have great timing, Sarah! My friend Amy gave me the world's cooleset popsicle maker for my birthday, the Zoku Pop Maker. Adam has requested Fourth of Julysicles. I don't know what kind I'm making yet, but you can bet your buttons they'll be red, white, & blue.
Aren't these options gorgeous? They look so fun and tasty. I like the whole pieces of fruit.
Summer of Awesomeness project completed - Get Motivated!
DECOUPAGED PLACEMAT TUTORIAL BELOW
(Note---spellcheck kept trying to get me to change 'placemat' to 'placenta'. Now that would be a whole different project altogether, now wouldn't it?)
Thanks to a much-needed kick in the pants from Bettina, I got motivated to finish my placemats I'd started months ago. Do you have lots of projects languishing on all surfaces of your house? If your house is perfect and organized, just don't tell me.
I've been saving this copy of "Meet the Woodland Folk" for a family project. We all really like the books. Did you ever read them? I didn't find the Woodland Folk series until I was an adult, but I am crazy about the detailed illustrations and happy forest creatures. Thanks, Tony Wolf---you've made the world a nicer place. I wish I could go give him a hug and make him some cookies. Richard Scarry, too.
(I am going to make this one super duper EASY-you can even do it with mild heat stroke!)
2. Now just have fun picking out images to go on each placemat. (This is optional--->) I overlapped 2 pages for each placemat. To make it look slightly more 'decoupaged', I cut a few shapes out to make them overlap the next page a little more gracefully.
3. Apply school glue smoothly to the back of the book pages. Carefully place the page on the placemat, aligning edges. Working fairly quickly, smooth out any air bubbles or excess glue, working from the center out to the edge of the paper. Some people use a little brayer? (I think that's the word) or a small rolling pin. You can also use your fingers. However, try to be careful not to get glue on the front of the book pages. Some printing inks will run if you get glue on them then push your finger over the surface. You can always test a scrap page of the book first.
4. Let the school glue dry, then coat the top with 2-5 layers of Mod Podge, depending on how glossy and well-protected you want it. If you have energetic children that like to stab things with forks, put lots of coats on. If you have mild, calm children, or adults in your home, then 2 coats should be fine.
That's it! Clean them with a damp dishtowel or sponge (soft side), and don't scrub really hard.
Did I mention the handy storage box? I like placemats, and have several sets, so I like to store them neatly. Send me photos of any of your SOA projects and I'll be happy to post them.