Monday, March 15, 2010

Around Our House: Seeds are in the Mail

We ordered seeds for these cute little egg gourds. It is never too early to plan a craft for the kiddos.

Last night Scott and I finally made our seed order from Baker Creek Heirlooms. The catalog showed up in December and we have been oggling it for the last three months.

We ordered from them last year and got a great Purple Podded Pole Bean, that grew more beans than we could ever eat. I was harvesting over 7 pounds every few days! We also got a few orka varieties, pak choy, and three different melons.

This year I made sure to add a good variety of lettuces, broccoli, herbs, carrots, and most importantly squash and pumpkins. I found it the hardest to pick out squash. I love all the different colors and shapes of squash. After making pumpkin pie out of one the the most beautiful Long Island Cheese pumpkins last fall I don't think I can ever use a regular pie pumpkin again.

The girls and I will start planting out seedlings today, and then it is out into the muck to clean up the garden and get it going! I did notice yesterday that some very helpful bunnies have fertilized for us...

I couldn't resist this French pumpkin, Musquee De Provence.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Etsy Favorites: Bonnet!

I didn't even know I wanted a bonnet until I opened Etsy this morning and found this fantastic reversible bonnet!

Miss Minoes out of Leiden, has created this amazing reversible flip-flopable sunhat/bonnet (there are four ways to wear it) that is so casually crazy that I think even I could pull it off (and I am NOT a hat person). I might need this for our summer outings and even a little light gardening.

Friday, March 12, 2010

New Products: Something for the Ladies

Here are a few pics of my new line of ladies skirts! I got bored with making straight panel skirts (not to mention finding copy cat sellers), so I put on my thinking cap and designed these fabulous skirts!

They twirl and sway a little like a square dancing skirt but are fabulously light and cool. Perfect for spring and summer. They are made from recycled jersey and T-shirts. Each one is guaranteed unique, as I do not follow a specific pattern (it's more of a process!) I pull together coordinating fabrics, and get to work. Each skirt is overlock serged for extra durability. My wide jersey fold over waistband allows you to wear your skirt up or down a few inches depending on your mood. It also allows for a wide range of fit, so if you plan to drop a few pounds over the summer, order a size or two smaller than you need and wear it as you lose weight!

Click here to order one of your own!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

New Products: What's New in March!

I have been diligently designing new product lines for Handmade Pretties. Here are a few gems that have come off of the machines in the last few days.

Recycled Jersey Skirts!

Recycled Jersey Skirts with built-in Pantaloons!

Recycled T-shirt Bloomers!

And One Super Fantastic Floor Length Sweater Skirt!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Personal Favorites: 15 Albums

I originally posted this as a note on my facebook page, but I found it to be blog worthy, or rather I have been feeling too lazy to write new blogs so I am reposting this.

So here are 15 albums that in someway changed my life and/or made it more tolerable. These all span from about 1993 to 2006 (mostly known as the college years). I find it harder to become completely smitten with an album in the age of the iPod. There are a few, but that is another post entirely.

Gateway Albums = pot for your ears...

1. Smashing Pumpkins - Siamese Dream: This album made me love music again. Popular music in the late 80s and early 90s had nearly destroyed music for me. When I heard this album, I had finally found a jumping off point. I am not saying it is the best album or that I would even haul it with me to a desert island...but.

2. Bottledog - Hot Dolphin Terror at Chirpgobble : THIS album completely changed music for me. I was in Ames in the early days of Bottledog, and when Laura Watral (of Coupleskate) sent me this album, it totally freaked me out. I thought it was really really weird and maybe not in a good way, and then it totally got under my skin and completely changed the way I listened to music.

The actual album cover is a painting by Andrew Kleindolph (Femur).

Saved My Soul From Breaking into a Million Pieces Albums = Prozac!

3. Bedhead - Beheaded : Perhaps I could have lived without this album, but I am fairly certain that I would not have wanted to.

4. Dirty Three - Horse Stories : Same deal. My cd player actually asked me to pick something else.

5. Rex - C : I had entire friendships based on a mutual love of this album.

6. The Palace Brothers - Days in the Wake : Vinyl. Probably trashed from repeated playings. It is still one of the first albums when spinning some vinyl

7. P.J. Harvey - Stories from the City Stories from the Sea : Grad school really sucked the first term. PJ helped me deal. This is not necessarily my favorite PJ album (Dry probably holds that title), but it was somehow more important.

8. Uncle Tupelo - Anodyne : Good grad school elixir.

9. Neko Case - Blacklisted : My children subconsciously know this entire album b/c I sang it all the time in the car whilst preg. Beatrice will sing "I Wish I was the Moon" from start to finish.

Albums that Made good art = crack?

10. Godheadsilo - Elephantitus of the Night : Try NOT to paint to this

11. Trans Am - It's a tie between Surveillance and Futureworld : Painting in the OMB!

12. Bill Ding - Trust in God but Tie Up Your Camels : I remember making a lot of paper to this

13. 18th dye - Tribute to a Bus: General mayhem.

14. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - Self titled : I recall doing a lot of sewing to this disc

15. The Arcade Fire - Funeral : many a website was created with this playing in my ears.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Around Our House: Kombucha or Bust - Part 1

Working from home with the kiddos means that I have strange shifts. Most of my sewing happens at night between the hours of 9pm and 2:30am. Since the girls are alive and ready to rumble at 7am, this often leaves me sleep deprived. I have found that drinking a bottle of kombucha every other day helps me kick the fatigue.

After forking over about $12 for three bottles of kombucha, I have decided to start brewing my own. My first step? Kombucha mother.

I have purchased an original bottle of GT's kombucha (it is raw and unpasteurized). Following the instructions I have been reading online, I will pour this bottle into a jar with some sweet tea and let it sit until I get this...

It might look skanky, but it's fantastic.

Let the process begin.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Do It Yourself: Flutter Butterfly Puppets

One bright and sunny butterfly floating on the breeze.

This is a great project to make while you are waiting and waiting and waiting for spring. These cheerful little butterflies make great puppets or even a fun bouquet. Do this as an afternoon activity or make these as a craft at a birthday party! Perfect for children old enough to use markers up to adults.

basket style coffee filters
food coloring
spray bottle filled with water
washable markers
chenille stems (some traditional style and bump stems)

All of our supplies ready to go.

1. Beautify the wings (coffee filters). We started by wetting a filter on top of a towel and dropping food coloring onto the filter. You can also draw on a dry filter and them wet it to make the colors run. We hung ours to dry using a hanging laundry carousel. We did this part of the project on one day and finished it the next. Filters should be dry before continuing.

2. Further beautiful your wings if desired. After our dye job dried, we drew patterns and lines on them with markers.

3. pinch the center of the filter, trying to keep an even amount of "wing" on both sides of the pinch.

Pinching the wings into shape.

4. Take one of the bump chenille stems (cut in half) and wrap the thin middle around the pinched wings twice.

Ready to wrap the bump stem around the middle of the wings.

Wrapped and ready for antennae.

4. Take a regular chenille stem cut in half and wrap both ends around a marker to curl. Fold it into a "V" shape.

Curling the antennae.

5. Center the bottom of the "V" on the top of the butterfly's head.

Lined up and ready.

5. Fold the tip over and wrap around the antennae a few times to secure.

Folded over and ready to wrap around the antennae to secure them to the head.

6. At this point you have a butterfly. You can attach them to gifts, or tie a string to suspend. But we like to make butterfly puppets. Taking a whole chenille stem (not the bumpy ones) sneak the tip of it under the center back of the butterfly's body.

Attaching the controls.

7. Twist to secure and you now have a butterfly puppet. Hold the far end of the stem and allow your butterfly to gently bob and sway with the breeze. If your stem gets bent, you may need to replace it. Gather together a handful of butterflies for a bright and cheerful bouquet!

Fly little friend!

Project designed by Lara Newsom of Handmade Pretties

Around Our House: Painting Painting Painting

Well we could wait no longer for fresh spring breezes, we had to start painting my husband's man cave yesterday. He chose Toasted Pumpkin by Behr for the color. Yes. I let him pick the color. This is how you know I love him. We bought Behr's low VOC paint that is supposed to be paint and primer in one, but I have to say that IF they ever do truly make a one coat paint I do not think it will be in my lifetime. Painting over the bright sky blue with orange is definitely a two coat job.

I suppose it was probably less fumy, but it was still too much for my sensitive head. If we had been able to open the windows, it would have been more tolerable. Today the room smells a little "painty", but not too bad. We will however wait until spring to do the girls' room.

Here are some cute pics of our girls "helping". They like to paint for about ten to fifteen minutes and then they are done and will let us get to work.

The girls hard at work.

My step-brother Josh came over to help. I had him prime over our tree, since it broke my heart to do it (Sylvia and I painted it together when she was 3).