Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Graphic Tees

I love cute graphic tees for kids.  J Crew and Gap have some cute ones for little kids, but unless you can find them on sale, they're a little pricey.  I picked up some $5 t-shirts from Target, fabric dye from Hobby Lobby and iron-on letters from HL as well.  You can also grab a plain light colored t-shirt from your kid's closet and dye it a darker color.  

I used a pearl grey color dye, which actually turned out really well.  Just follow the directions on the package.  I only soaked the shirts in the dye for five minutes.  Then wash and dry your shirt.  Carefully peel off the letters you intend to use (they tear very easily), and iron on.  

A nod to one of my favorite movies from the 80's:

Since it's difficult to find good band t-shirts in a size 4T:

I wouldn't normally have them wear them on the same day.  I think that would scream, "my mom made these".    

Monday, April 25, 2011

Cupcake Alternative

We don't have warm weather in Kansas quite yet, but we are doing everything we can to pretend like we do.  Our winter clothes are put away and we planted a vegetable garden last week.  Since most of our friends in Texas are experiencing temperatures in the 90's already, this post is for you.

I found these pre-made mini ice cream cones in a gourmet grocery store in Sydney.  The ones with the colored tops are filled with gelato and the chocolate ones are filled with ice cream.  Each cone was no more than five inches tall.  They were so cute!  These would be great to serve at birthday parties in lieu of cake or cupcakes.

I attempted to make my own version at home.  Here are the supplies I gathered:

I found the mini cones at Target and decided to use mini Oreos, sprinkles, and leftover Easter candy as toppings.

You can't tell from the picture, but these cones stand 2" tall.  

I bagged my toppings and used a meat tenderizer to crush them into tiny pieces.

Oreos and Robin Eggs 

If you try this at home, be sure to pull your ice cream right out of the freezer before assembling your cones.  If the ice cream is the least bit melty, it will drip into the bottom of the cones and make the cones soggy. 

First put a small scoop of ice cream on the top of your cone, then cover it with magic shell.  I found it was easier and neater to turn the cone on its side and do this over the sink.  I didn't have any one else around over the age of 4 to take a picture of me doing that way.

Now you have to move fast.  Before your magic shell dries, put your topping on it.  Sprinkles are easy, but with M&Ms and Oreos, you have to pat them down into the chocolate to make them stay put.  As soon as you have one cone made, put it in the freezer and move on to the next one.  
Here's the finished result:

Can you tell the Oreo cone was my first one to try?  You might need a few practice runs first.  These will keep in the freezer for up to eight hours.  

That is Hudson doing his surprise face.

The cones are a little messy, but so worth it.  

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Super Simple No Sew Scarf

While in Sydney, my sister-in-law and I stumbled across an American Apparel store.  Of course it was exactly the same as the ones in the US and we didn't end up buying anything.  However, we both spotted this really cute scarf that was $15.  Not bad, but after studying it, we both agreed we could make it for less than half that.  Here's a picture of the scarf from AA's website:

This is how you can copy this scarf for $4.  This will actually make two scarves--one for you and one for a friend.


2 yards of fabric 
Good pair of scissors 

*Note about fabric - Make sure to use fabric that will not fray.  The fabric I used was a 50/50 cotton polyester blend.  Fabric with polyester in it will not wrinkle as much.  Look for fabrics labeled t-shirt fabrics or jersey blend and look at the bolt of fabric at the store to make sure the ends are not unraveling.  Instead, it should curl at the ends.

This is the fabric I found at Hancock's.  It was $1.99/yard.

First, lay out your fabric.  If it's like mine, it probably has tiny holes on the selvage sides of the fabric (the longer part of your fabric).  Can you see them at the bottom of the picture?  If your fabric does not have any holes or decorative pattern on the selvage, skip the next step. 

With your fabric stretched out lengthwise across an ironing board, table, or the floor, cut the bottom inch or so off of your fabric.  It doesn't have to be perfectly straight.  The fabric should roll after you cut it, so you won't be able to tell that it's not perfectly straight.  Repeat this step on the other side of the fabric.

This is what you will be left with.  See how it already curled?

You can use it to tie up packages or bundle a set of onesies.  

Then fold your fabric in half lengthwise.  Cut your fabric in half at the fold.  Again, this does not have to be cut perfectly.  The fabric will curl and you won't be able to tell that it's not completely even.  That's all there is to it.  You now have a scarf for yourself and a scarf for a friend.

I made the entire family pose with me and my scarf.

If you're not sure you want a 72" long scarf, take a scarf out of your closet that you like and measure it.  I like mine a little longer, hence the 72".  

Friday, April 15, 2011

Australia - Part II

Here are a few more snapshots from my trip to Sydney.  

Bondi Beach - the little spots in the water are surfers

Jack the koala 

This was at Wildlife World in Sydney.  I wanted to take him home with me.

Harbor Bridge

Opera House

I wouldn't have been in Australia had it not been for the Blancos.  I stayed with them and their nanny Mandy for five days.  If I didn't have a husband and kids back in the US, I might not have left.  

This is one of the wineries we visited in Hunter Valley.  We had twenty people on our wine tour.  Only four of us were from the US.  The two people in the photo above (dubbed the Malaysian Mafia by our driver) happen to be in the background of almost every one of my photos.

See what I mean?  

That's it for my vacation photos.  I'm sure some Australian references will pop up in future posts.  I did get some crafting ideas from the land down under.  Now I just need to get back on track with my regular life and then I will get back to crafting.  

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Australia - Food & Drinks

I spent five amazing days in Sydney with my brother and his family.  One of the best things about the trip was all of the eating and drinking we did.  Here are a few of the highlights:

This beer caught my attention at the first "bottle shop" we visited.  Most six packs of beer go for $15.50 in downtown Sydney.  At the time of my visit, $1 US was just about the same as $1 Australian.  

This was our pizza at Lowenbrau Keller--a Munich-style restaurant in the Rocks area.  This pizza was amazing.  It was covered in "rocket" (arugula) with parmesan and topped with sun dried tomatoes.  We each had a Radler, which is a lager with lemonade.  Delicious.

We spent a day wine tasting in Hunter Valley.  It's about two hours outside the city.  Ernest Hill was one of my favorite wineries.  It was my first wine tour and I was a bit surprised by the flavor wheel they passed around on the bus just before our first tasting.  Apparently some wines can have hints of tar, petroleum, and tobacco.  But we didn't taste any of those wines....

While on the wine tour, we did spot a kangaroo out in the wild.  It was hanging around behind the winery.  If you squint a little, you can see him in the middle of the picture.  

My favorite restaurant in Sydney was actually Din Tai Fung.  It was so good, we went twice in five days.  Vic & Jenn had eaten at the one in Taiwan.  Unfortunately the only two locations in the US are in Seattle and LA.  They are known for their steamed pork dumplings.  Excuse the picture quality, these were taken with my phone.

Pork dumplings you dip in a combination of vinegar and soy sauce.  

Fried rice - I thought it was interesting that they added corn and didn't load it up with soy sauce.  We also had steamed spinach with garlic, and hot & sour soup.  Everything we ate there was amazing.  Wish we had one in Kansas!  

I'll post more pictures of the trip later this week.  


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

We're Back!

The boys and I have been away from home for the past 18 days.  We were in Arkansas, Texas, and I took a quick trip down to Australia while my parents watched the boys.  We had so much fun spending time with our friends and family.  I'll post some pictures from Australia later this week.  In the meantime, here are some pictures of the boys with their friends we visited along the way.

The boys and their friend Landry before a Superhero & Princess party.  Isn't Landry's Snow White outfit cute?  Her creative mama made it.

This is our friend Mallory.  She and her Mom evacuated Japan just a few days before we saw them.  We were sad that they had to leave Japan, but so happy that we were able to see them.

Our friend Mac is riding shotgun in the ambulance.  We took this at the McKenna Children's Museum in New Braunfels, Texas.  If you are ever in the area, you should check out this museum.  The boys loved it!  Here are a few more pics from our trip to the museum:

We saw so many people that we miss on this trip to Texas.  I wish I had pictures of them all.  We already miss our friends and family, but look forward to coming back soon.