Sunday, September 27, 2009

Little Clothespin Cutie

I'm afraid my Bento Lunch creations are at Risk. I've discovered a new obsession that seems to be monopolizing my time lately.

Isn't she adorable (if I do say so myself)? Now can you see why I'm obsessed with making these little cuties. This one was completely "styled" by Little K. She chose the fabric and colors (hair and eye colors are the same as hers)...she even painted the legs/tights and stripes herself.

I love how the stripes on her tights are all wonky.

This one was actually just a trial run. We have a friend who celebrated her 6th Birthday this weekend, and I wanted to make a little Clothespin Doll Scene for her present.

This is what we made for her. The colors are coordinated to her Birthday invitation (shown in the background). The little dolls hair and eye colors match the Birthday Girl.

Her theme was "Birds in the Garden", so we had to add some flowers and a little bluebird singing away.

I've been admiring the work of several Flickr artists that make fantastic clothespin dolls. Some of my faves are Jenny at
be cheery, Susan at Sweetimaginations and Carol at Wee Cute Treasures. Their creations inspired me to give this craft a try. They give their dolls such personality and each artist has their own unique style. It's been fun watching their work.

I remember making clothespin dolls as a child. I think it was a kit that had all the pins and sheets of felt with itty bitty pattern pieces that you cut into clothes and then glued to the clothespin. I worked for hours on those little creations. I guess I was a bit obsessive even back then. The thrill has come rushing back, and I still have lots of supplies, so I'm sure you'll be seeing more of these cuties to come.

But first - I think I better go pack Little K a bento box for school tomorrow.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Arizona Night Sky

Taking a moment to appreciate the Sunset.

The sky lights up like this nearly every night here in Arizona, but I rarely get to see it. Cleaning Up from dinner, Packing Lunch, Snuggling with Little K, they all keep me occupied inside while the day comes to an beautiful end outside.

Maybe tomorrow we'll sit outside together and watch the sun go down. The dishes can always wait until after dark!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Pasta for Everyone

Little K and I had the great idea to make pasta - from scratch! I'm not quite sure why, since you can buy a box of pasta in any flavor, or shape you want for just around a dollar. I guess it was the thought of playing around in the messy dough that appealed to both of us. Besides, isn't anything home made Better than store bought?

So with that thought in mind - we got started.

The ingredients are simple. Just Eggs, Flour, Olive Oil and Salt. I'm sure a real Italian cook would just mix it all together until it felt right. But we needed to at least start with a recipe.

Homemade Pasta

3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
5 large eggs
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil

Mound flour in the center of a large board. Make a well in the flour and break the eggs into the center. Sprinkle on the salt and add the oil. With your fingertips, mix the eggs into the flour gradually incorporating the walls of the well. When all the eggs are mixed with the flour, knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic. It will be very firm and should be quite smooth, the kneading process will take about 10 minutes.

Roll the dough into long strips. Dry the strips slightly (we use a long handled wooden spoon). After the dough is slightly dry, (don't wait too long or the dough will be too brittle to cut), cut the strips into desired shapes (long thin strips). Dry on a rack until ready to use.

Incorporating the flour into the eggs was a lot of fun. That's Little K doing all the work. Look at that beautiful golden color. I swear it's from the brown eggs I use.

Two huge jars of olives I keep on my kitchen counter worked perfect as a drying station for the pasta. We used a long wooden spoon across the top, and hung the cut pasta strips over the spoon.

As we were cutting the strips, I was really wishing I had bought that pasta machine I wanted for making Skulpy Clay creations. I'm not sure why, but the the shape, and thickness of the pasta effects the taste, and it's pretty difficult to get the pasta thin enough when you are rolling by hand (at least for us it was).

I won't say it was the best tasting pasta we have ever had. I think if we were able to make the strips narrower and thinner, they would have tasted better. But we had loads of fun making our noodles, and I'm sure we'll do it again soon.

While we were waiting for the pasta to dry, we whipped up some home made vanilla ice cream to eat with these delicious white nectarines. The Pasta may not have been perfect...but the ice cream was pretty close, and definitely better than last time....I think we finally have it figured out.

So come on over for dinner. We always have the ingredients on hand for Homemade Pasta and Vanilla Ice Cream.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Fun Find

I got these adorable green Ramekin Dishes some time ago at the Dollar Store. I didn't expect them to hold up very well (you get what you pay for), but there were the best shade of Green and I just couldn't resist.

I've had them for a few months, and used them over and over again. Much to my surprise, there is not a single chip or crack. I've even baked in them. They are great for Dips and Salsas, I grab one when I need to Scramble an Egg, and last night we used them for Taco Toppings.

I could have used a few more (for the Salsa, Sour Cream and Lettuce), but for some reason I only purchased 3?

Now I'm off to the Dollar Store to see if I can find any more. Hope I get there before you do, because I might just buy them All Up.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Family Card Challenge - HBCC #2

I spent some time organizing my Craft Room over the weekend (which is also the Guest Bed Room). I haven't been doing any paper crafting lately, frankly...because I couldn't find anything. I'm happy to say, I'm feeling much more creative now that things are a bit tidy and I'm ready to Get My Craft On!

After seeing all the new goodies I was putting away, Little K decided she wanted to to another Family Card Making Challenge (probably because she won the last one). This time, she wanted Daddy to play along. Being the good sport that he is, he agreed. Although he did make us promise that next weekend we have a "who can change the oil in the car fastest" Challenge. Little does he know, I'm actually pretty good at that.

So here are our submissions for your review and consideration.

We followed the Hannah Bug Color Challenge #2 - Use Dark Grey, Dark Orange and Light Orange.

It's a new Challenge Blog designed for Kids Submissions. Hannah (Lori's daughter from The Pink Elephant) just started the site, so spread the word to all your Crafty Kids - how fun that they can play along with their peers in their own challenges.

Submission #1 - Best Friends

Submission #2 - Smile

Submission #3 - Hello Friend

We also added our own twist. Since we couldn't all fit into the craft room - we pulled a limited few supplies (cardstock, buttons, brads, ribbon, stamps and punches). We brought them to the kitchen table and that's ALL we were allowed to use. No one could go into the craft room and dig for the perfect button, or get just one more bling. We had to share the supplies and use only what was on the table.

Considering those limitations, I think they turned out pretty good - and very different.

Feel free to leave a comment on which one you like the best. The winner gets Braggin' Rights (but beware, there may be a re-match in the works already).

Sunday, September 6, 2009

New Blog Header

So what do you think? I was playing around with some of my photos to see if I could come up with a Blog Header.

If only I had a Graphics Program (and the brains to use one), I would love to make a Colorful Graphic Logo. But alas, I'll have to use what I have available (AKA - the Free stuff).

For now, this will have to do. You Likey?

Thanks to my brother Keith for being my Computer Tutor this summer. I wouldn't have been able to figure this out without his help.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Busy Bento Week

I've been having fun making Little K's Bento Lunches this week. Here are a few of the more interesting ones I thought I would share.

We got a new Bento Box this week, and I couldn't wait to use it. Little K has been busy making jewelry, and made this adorable Pink and Black Zebra set.

Of course, she coordinated an entire outfit around the Necklace and Earrings - so I thought the Panda Bento would be a perfect compliment to the outfit.

Doesn't everyone coordinate their lunch to what they are wearing?

Don't you love the little band that makes him look like Kung Fu Panda? It's an elastic strap that keeps the layers together...notice the eye brows.

I accidentally threw away the Panda Soy Sauce Bottle, so he won't be making another appearance. I still have a chick, elephant, lion and bunny, but they don't quite go with the panda theme.

The rice face was so fun and easy to make. I just copied the details from the box lid, with the addition of a radish bow and some blusher (it is a girl after all).

This is Today's Bento. I recently purchased Susan Yuen's book and I love how she makes her little people, so I was inspired to give it a try.

Just in case you didn't get the subtle reference to our family.

I added another box of fruits and veggies, because the Happy Family scene is made completely of rice, cheese and meat.

Little K wanted to be surprised, but I was worried it would all shift when she rode the I actually delivered it to her at school at lunchtime. OK, maybe I'm going just a little overboard now. Hey - it's Friday, it's OK to splurge.

Happy Friday - from our Family to Yours!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Cat Vomit and Other Fun Stuff

Look what I woke up to this weekend. Right in the middle of the bathroom floor, where I was sure not to miss it.

Almost a little too obvious. Come to think of it - Little K was telling me a story the other night of how she once found a little gift like this from the cat. Funny - I don't remember her ever pointing out such a thing for me to clean up.

Can't you just hear it now - "Ewwww Yuckkk - Mooommmm - look what the Caaat did!"

I'm pretty sure she wouldn't just clean it up herself
without telling me. Wait a minute - something is going on here!

Yep - I was the unsuspecting recipient of a practical joke engineered by Little K and Daddy. Thanks to the help from this

If Fake Cat Vomit isn't your thing, these
books are still great. Although you might be surprised. I wouldn't have thought Little K would have been interested in this (pretty gross for my girly girl), but she was on the floor laughing like a maniac just waiting to see my reaction.

These books are filled with all sorts of fun stuff that we used to do as kids, using things around the house. You remember, back when we had free time and had to entertain ourselves, and when even the simplest things were funny and interesting. Things like:
  • Make a Lemon Powered Clock
  • Train a Dog to Shake Hands
  • Modern Women Leaders
  • How to Negotiate a Salary
  • Rules of the Game - Basketball
  • How to Blow the Biggest Bubble
  • Pressing Flowers
  • Campfire Songs
  • First Aid
  • Boys
I'm not sure how our lives became so complicated and scheduled with activities, but reading these books with Little K reminds me of my childhood, and has been great fun for all of us. For those of you who have Boys, not to worry, there's a book for you as well.

Humm - I hear giggling upstairs. I think those two are up to something again.