Monday, January 18, 2016

Salt dough ornaments

Harriet and I made salt dough ornaments for people for Christmas. I hadn't made these since I was maybe her age so it was a lot of fun for both of us. I found a recipe online that said 2 cups salt, 2 cups flour and 1 cup warm water. It would have been fine with half the salt I think, but whatever. We mixed in some food coloring and then baked them for 10 minutes at 200 degrees.

Mixing in the food coloring.

The colors appeared to be more vibrant before we baked them.

We sealed them with shellac from the art store and they are ready to go! We made about double or triple this amount, but we gave most of them away before I took a picture. As with everything with Harriet, its all about rainbows.

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

December activities

This year December was packed full of events, as usual. Harriet and I went to Julmarknad Swedish Institute. It was a Swedish-type market that they had in tents, but also they had tons of kid activities, crafts and a Tomte hunt that Harriet really enjoyed. We searched all over the mansion for it while looking at the Christmas decorations on each level. When I asked Harriet on New Year's Eve what her favorite event/moment from 2015 was she said going to the this event. (I think she forgot that we went to Hawaii this year-- the highlight of her young life, ha!)

Tomte find.

Dala-house riding.
We went to La Posada again this year, an event put on by our neighborhood association that celebrates Christmas in Mexico, essentially. It has great food and entertainment. This year we won two raffle items -- the girls were thrilled. 

We celebrated the start of Hannukah by hosting a party for our neighbor friends. Classic Harriet in this picture covering her ears for the blessing.
We made donuts for everyone.

We went to the Mia family day as we do almost every month. Harriet and I kind of have a routine of going when Eloise is napping, which happens to be the perfect time to go since a lot of the families have left for nap time too. We always go to all the craft activities and have a great time.

This holiday season was a magical one for Harriet because she really was into Santa. She wrote him this note that I put in the mailbox at our local grocery store and then we just got a letter back the other day from him with two coupons for cookies. She hung on every word of that letter. 

The letter was received! Some headbands and jingle bells. 
Probably the highlight of the month for Eloise was not Christmas, but the weekend we dogsat for our next door neighbors. She basically went insane and that poor, patient dog endured a lot. She is the sweetest dog, even Harriet, who doesn't like dogs, has as soft spot in her heart for this one and was sad to see her leave.

Christmas Eve.

New Years Eve was spent with friends as we usually do. Hopefully the tradition will continue for many years and the group will grow every year.  

2015 has been an insanely busy, but overall, a wonderful year for us. We took three big trips this year, welcomed a niece/cousin, entered into a new routine that goes with having a kindergartner, made new friends and celebrated with family and friends at a number of weddings. We look forward to see what 2016 holds for us and are optimistic that life will be a little less chaotic as the girls continue to get older and are capable of doing more activities. 

Yowzer weigh it 3 shawl

I made this shawl for my Aunt Sylvia for Christmas. It was really fun to make and was different than anything else I have knit. You weigh the ball of yarn before you start (this yarn is Miss Babs Yowza yarn so that made it easy because it followed the pattern exactly). You repeat the same two lines of the pattern until you weigh it towards the end and once there is a certain amount left, you end it. The yarn is super soft and squishy. I really enjoyed making it.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Army of caterpillars!

 I made these for Eloise and she loves them so much (although currently four of them are missing and we've searched everywhere and can't find them-- they're here somewhere....). She carries them around and loves hugging them. Harriet is obsessed with rainbows so it is a perfect mix for both of them. I got the pattern at a yarn shop (here it is on ravelry) and happened to have a bunch of cotton yarn that worked perfectly.

I made this bigger one, now also lost, out of rainbow striped yarn. So much hugging.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Homemade geode

A few months ago we made these geodes and I forgot to write about it until now. Harriet loves doing science experiments so I have been looking on youtube and found this guy. The cool thing about this experiment is that it only takes less than a day, unlike rock crystals, which can take weeks. 

Basically you paint some elmers glue in half an egg shell that is dried out and then sprinkle some alum powder (pickling salt) in there, mix 2 cups of hot water with 3/4 of a cup of alum powder in a jar and then 30 drops of food coloring. Dissolve the alum powder, drop the egg shell in and wait 14 hours.
Its fun because the crystals are giant. (Not in the top pic that the blue doesn't have the giant crystals anymore because Harriet stowed it away in her pocket when she wasn't supposed to bring it somewhere and essentially crushed the side crystals).

We decided to experiment some more with these berries things that were on our climbing spinach plant. The egg came out kind of brownish even though the juice was purple.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Knit snail

Another one from the same Amigurumi book. The directions on this left a bit to be desired, but it turned out ok. I like the ombre effect on the sheet. I realized after I had finished that I had affixed the shell incorrectly and debated ripping part of it back and redoing it, then realized it was just a kid's toy and that was just ridiculous.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Knit octopus!

I made this fun octopus recently from a new book I got called Amigurumi Knits. It was a different way of knitting stuffed animals than I had previous done, but once I got the hang of it, it was a lot of fun! The legs kind of look crocheted but they are actually knit and then whipstitched together. Give it a try, knitters!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Star Wars holiday card

Our family and friends should have received our 2015 holiday cards by now. We're very happy how they came out and everyone seems to love the idea. Pretty much since we finished last year's cards I've thrown different ideas at Christina and every single idea was Star Wars related. With the new movie coming out, I just knew it would be fun.

When the idea of making our own custom figures came up, even Christina seemed excited. Since I have a lot of vintage figures, I had plenty of ideas. In fact, not surprisingly, Star Wars fans have been making custom figures for a long time (ago in a galaxy far, far away....) and there was a ton of material online to help execute things.

We wanted the holiday card to resemble this...
Actually we decided to make holiday cards, plural. One for each member of the family. First step was finding photos that highlighted an event from 2015. It was such a fun year it actually wasn't that difficult. Then I sifted through all the differnt old Star Wars figures to find one that would resemble us, at least generally.

We started with an Obi-Wan, Yoda, Ugnaught, and three princess Leia figures. Obi-Wan was a perfect pick for me (beard, formal attire, Jedi master). I shaved down the robe a bit with an X-acto knife to match the outfit from the picture we selected.

We "popped" off  two of the heads on the Leia figures using a boiling water trick and placed them on the smaller figures for the kids. We used some toothpicks and modeling clay because (fun fact!) Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi figures have different head connections.

Christina primed and painted each figure by hand. We made a gown and little hat for Harriet, as well as a microphone and speech for my figure's props.

All finished with the figures.

We then ordered replacement plastic bubbles on eBay and Christina made a template using an old card back I had. However, she ended up finding it easier to use high-res scans other Star Wars fans had loaded on the internet. She then printed off a full-sized version, then placed the figure in the bubble on top of it and took a photo of the complete package. With a bit more photoshop magic, we had four different holiday cards fronts. 'Tis the season for being excited for Star Wars and remembering a crazy, fun, memorable year.
Harriet (Graduation Gown). Photo from her Temple Israel preschool graduation ceremony last spring.

Eloise (at the Plaza). On our trip to NYC we visited The Plaza Hotel off of Central Park. Eloise was excited to hear about the rambunctious book character with whom she shares a name.

Christina (Hawaiian Outfit). So many great photos from our trip to Hawaii, but none of just Christina. The print on her dress was a good challenge for this project and turned out great. She did a great job with all of the figures – she's so talented!

Stephen (Best Man). Picture taken mid-speech at Adam and Ari's wedding reception.

Limited by space and USPS rules, we kept the backside of the postcard as simple as possible. Collect all four! To virtually everyone, we only sent out one of the cards, so we wanted people to see the full set.