Sunday, July 31, 2011

wardrobe re-fashion

i can't believe i finally sat down and finished this necklace. for years it's been sitting in my jewelry box. i've been afraid to wear it because it's looked like it's been on the verge of breaking and sending 500+ puka shells every where. i am not really sure why i didn't take a before picture of the necklace, but you can use your imagination. i re-strung all the shells and then added the chain in the back to lengthen the necklace. i think my great grandmother would be proud.

10 things i couldn't live without this week:

1. oh man, i am just in love with my new red floral skirt that i found at family vintage. and i am kinda in love with family vintage it self...just found out they will be having another yard sale coming up in september! can't wait.
2. ballet just keeps getting better and better....or maybe it's me that's getting better at ballet. i am not sure how i went for some many years without structured dancing in my life. don't get me wrong....i shake my booty all the time, but the discipline and control that ballet takes is a different story.
3. i can see changes happening in my body. besides the weight loss, i physically look stronger. i am long and lean, and i feel more poised and far more flexible. it's kind of an amazing thing.
4. all this talk about how fantastic i look and feel made me hungry for some deadly gooey chocolate cookies! check out these delicious gluten free lava cookies.
5. i finally got my na fianna cd in the mail. me and the boy can't stop listening/dancing/singing to it. i won a contest a while ago (yes can you believe it....i never win anything) that they were holding to help promote their american/canadian tour. na fianna is a great traditional folk and ballad band from ireland...and you know how i am a sucker for irish music. make sure you check out their album and show some support to the band!
6. i finished my pencil skirt the other day and got to take it out for girls night test drive. it's kind of amazing. and there is something about that skirts color pallet with turquoise shoes that makes me feel complete.
7. i bought my plane tickets for north carolina. the boy and i can't wait to be there! the trip went from being and nice quite family vacation to what sounds like a giant reunion-ish family party. can't wait to see everyone. i have plans to take lots of pictures and maybe spend some time getting lost in the woods.
8. the hubs and i went on a great date night, it's not something that we do often, but when we do it's always amazing. we ate dinner at a place downtown that we always over look...god knows why because it might be the best restaurant we have down there. then we cruised over to our local pub for some drinks with some friends. we ended the night down by the water watching shooting stars.
9. i finally started working on a restoration project that i have been sitting on for a while. my great grandmother gave me a necklace that my father helped make when he was a kid. i have had the necklace for a while and have worn it in the past, but due to the necklaces delicate condition it's been out of the rotation for a quite some time. so i took it apart and started to put it back together again....with a little re-fashioning. can't wait until it's done so i can share it with you!
10. we took the boy for his first movie theater experience. it was awesome! he was so excited when we got there, the look on his face was priceless as he took it all in. we got our popcorn and candy and settled in to our seats to watch the smurfs 3D. not only did he love the movie, but he was so good. he sat in my lap (mostly because his seat kept folding up on him - which was hilarious) with one had in the popcorn and his little 3D glasses on. as soon as we left he wanted to go back.

Friday, July 29, 2011

lava cookies

these are hands down the best cookies i have ever had/made! they are super easy and gluten free (got to love that)!

1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips (about 90z.), divided
3 large eggs whites, room temperature
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, divided
1/2 cup dark cocoa powder
1 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt

1. preheat oven to 350℉. spray 2 large baking sheets with nonstick spray.
2. melt 1 cup of chocolate chips in a glass bowl in the microwave, stirring twice, about 2 minutes. cool slightly.
3. using an electric mixer, beat egg whites in a large bowl to soft peaks. gradually beat in 1 cup of sugar. continue beating until mixture resembles soft marshmallow creme.
4. in a separate bowl whisk together 1 cup of sugar, cocoa, cornstarch, and salt.
5. on a low speed, blend the dry ingredient mixture into the meringue.
6. stir in melted chocolate and 1/2 cup of chocolate chips. the dough will become very stiff.
7. place 1/2 cup sugar in a bowl. roll 1 rounded tbsp of dough into a ball, then roll in sugar, coating thickly. place on prepared sheet spacing about 2 inches apart.
8. bake about 10 minutes, cool on the cookie sheet for about 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

makes about 20 cookies.
this recipe was adapted from divine baking. enjoy!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

thrifty finds.

oh man this past weekend i went to another one of those fantastic vintage yard sales that we are so lucky to have here. the house of vintage was cleaning out there shop and they had some pretty spectacular deals. i was lucky enough to bring these little beauties home!

this skirt is exactly what this summer heat is calling for. it's comfortable and such a great airy fabric. not to mention it kinda looks amazing blowing in the wind (or doing twirls).

i just fell in love with all these necklaces and it wasn't my intentions at first, but i absolutely love them all together.

did i mention that the ever so delicious ps561 truck was parked out front?!?! yum. there's no better way to end some fantastic shopping then with an avocado covered hot dog.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

wardrobe re-fashion

this re-fashioning was one of my favorite/hardest things i've made. between the directions for creating my own chevron fabric to the directions for installing an invisible zipper (which i have not done in about 15 years) there was a lot of confusion. there were many moments where i would just find myself staring at all the cut up fabric thinking "was this a good idea? should i have just destroyed one of my favorite skirts? is this even possible?" but the pencil skirt turned out exactly how i wanted it too... thanks to the help of my new favorite book... the little green dress. i highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in learning more about pattern making. i might cry when i have to bring it back to the library! so here is it the before & after. hope you like it.



oh, and i totally realized that i got so caught up in making this skirt that i forgot sunday's 10 things i couldn't live without. my bad. it will be back next sunday.

Friday, July 22, 2011

photo booth friday

yeah! it's finally here! the first ever photo booth friday!

i have been toying around with this idea for a long time. and with the boys new love for "photo boothing" how could i resist. i wanted to do something a little different though, so i came up with this idea: i am going to make them all look like story book illustrations and give you guys free liberty to add your caption! this week you have two pictures to choose from or please comment on both! oh i am so excited! have fun!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

joys of parenting: uh oh.

never ask a two year old to...
...get you a towel from the bathroom.

french breakfast muffins

makes 12 muffins
muffin ingredients:
2 cups flour
2/3 cup sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 large egg
1 cup plus 2 tbsp milk
6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 tsp vanilla extract

cinnamon-sugar topping ingredients:
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled

1. preheat the oven to 375 degrees. butter the bottoms (only) of muffin tin.
2. in a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and nutmeg.
3. in a medium sized bowl, whisk the egg until it's froth. blend in the milk, melted butter, and vanilla. make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the liquid mixture.
4. using a wooden spoon, mix the batter just until it's even blended, then spoon it into the muffin cups, filling about two-thrids.
5. bake the muffins on the center rack for 15 minutes. then rotate the pan and bake for an additional 5 to 7 minutes. let cool for 5 minutes before removing muffins from the tin.
6. before the muffins loose their warmth, prepare the topping. mix the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. melt the butter and transfer in to a separate small bowl. set both bowls next to the muffins.
7. working one muffin at a time quickly dip the tops in the melted butter and then in the cinnamon sugar, rolling each muffin in all directions to cover the entire top.

(note: after my first batch came out a bit toasty, i found that my oven runs a bit hot, so i knocked down the temp to just shy of 375, and baked for 12 minutes, rotated pan and then baked for an additional 5 minutes.)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

i want that art: uncorked

i was drooling over pictures from a friends recent trip to portugal and came upon a picture of a cork bracelet that she had gotten there. i fell in love. i have always been a huge cork fan. i love its imperfections and its texture.
after looking at those pictures, i put two and two together and was pleasantly reminded that cork doesn't just come from a factory. this is information that had already known, i guess i just had to see the pictures of cork forests to wrap my head around the idea.
well i headed straight to etsy to do some research and i found one of the coolest stores! uncorked is the brainchild of the very talented Cat Ivins. her store features handmade jewelry made from all sustainable and repurposed materials, and each of her unique pieces are packaged so beautifully. these are some of the lovlies i can't stop staring at:

cat was kind enough to do a little interview for us, enjoy:

t.v. why cork?
c.i. what i love about cork, besides the fact that it is tree bark so its a wood that does not harm the tree when harvested properly (it grows back), is the fact that it is so imperfect. i love the concept of wabi-sabi and finding the perfection in imperfection.

t.v. what about cork inspires you as a jewelry designer?
c.i. handmade will never be perfect and that is what gives handmade it's poetry - it will never be pressed out of plastic and sit on a shelf in a target store, all pretty and perfect and cheap. cork is always flawed, but always beautiful - i haven't found a perfect piece yet - it totally inspires me.

t.v. can you explain the importance of sustainability in your life, not just in your business but in your everyday life.
c.i. sustainability is a big part of my business. i really strive to use industrial materials that serve another purpose and recycled and earth friendly materials. i could get almost all my materials for less money or faster or use new pieces instead of used pieces that need to be refurbished, if i didn't outsource the way i do. lately i have been thinking though about just how unsustainable this type of personal making and selling can be... all of the time required of us to create a niche in such a huge marketplace as the internet is not ver sustainable... in the beginning i just did one thing - i made something. and then i did another thing - i marketed it. and then i did another thing - i shipped it....even when you are not doing the selling/shipping step - all the other steps are taking way too much time and it becomes unsustainable. the truth though is that the unsustainable part is what forces us to prioritize and to change things and to grow - to get things back into balance - to make our lives more sustainable - all good things.

t.v. how do you balance your creativity, productivity, and motherhood?
c.i. i'm not sure i do. i think that amazing things are created with passion and it is very hard to be passionate with one eye on the clock and that guilt-inducing pie chart that says we need to balance out time into equal chunks. i think when we are making - our crafts, art, dinner - we want to be totally in that space doing that thing, and when we are with our kids we need to be 100% with them. i'm not sure we can spend too much time being creative or too much time being moms, but we can absolutely spend too much time on production - production overload leads to burnout and burnout kills productivity and creativity and makes for grumpy parents. some days when i am brazing for example or cleaning car parts (for my polarity shop) i get totally in the zone and it is like a meditation. i love the idea of a balanced life and know the pitfalls of burnout, but it is a process and easy to slip up. i think when our businesses are slow, instead of doing more and more to make things happen, we should take that time to slow ourselves down - enjoy the tide being out, trusting that it will be back in.

thanks so much to cat for spending some time with us and letting me pick her brain a bit. stop by her shops and also check out her great blog on sustainability called olive bites.

Monday, July 18, 2011

DIY: rainbow crayons

for months now i have been saving every little bit of broken crayon, keeping broken pieces from restaurants, and prying half chewed chunks from the dogs mouth...all for this moment. one of my favorite childhood memories: the rainbow crayon! these rainbow crayons are so easy to make and also teach a hidden message about recycling.

you will need:
old broken crayons
muffin tin
muffin liners

step 1:
pre-heat oven to 300 degrees. gather all your supplies.
remove all the paper from the crayons.

step 2:
break all the crayons into 1/2 inch or smaller pieces.
fill the liners with the broken pieces of crayons.

step 3:
bake for 5-7 minutes. watch closely they will melt quickly,
but you don't want them to burn.

step 4:
let cool for 30 minutes
before removing the paper liners.
then let sit over night before using.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

10 things i couldn't live without this week:

1. the boy is obsessed with lizards. he calls them "dino lizards". living in the tropics for the past year has introduced me to all kinds of strange lizards. some so big they would make the average person jump out of their skin. it's no wonder he thinks they are dinosaurs. the other day, on a walk that the boy tricked me into, we caught ourselves a lizard (with a butterfly net...i won't bare hand it). not a biggie, just your run of the mill yard lizard. this was the first time i showed the boy how to catch a lizard. he was pretty excited about it. later that same day he caught his own lizard. we were in the back yard and he came running towards me with a fist full of lizard. by the time i realized what he had in his hand he had squished it so hard that it's guts were bulging out of it's side. he had no idea that he had just killed the poor thing. he was so excited and proud of his "dino lizard" catching skills, then i had to go and crush it all my telling him he killed it. ugh. but at least he now knows that he has the skills to capture and the strength to kill.
2. dark chocolate elvis cupcakes! yum! but more importantly lets talk about the beauty/danger or homemade peanut butter frosting. not only is it delicious on cupcakes, we had it on waffles, pretzels, gram crackers, you name it...i put frosting on it.
3. swim lessons started this week, and although it's nothing like last years lessons, they are still fun. my standards were set very high last year with the boys old teacher. she had been teaching swim lessons for some 30+ years, and she was awesome, by the end of last summer my one year old could practically swim on his own. our local pool has since been shut down due to budget cuts/renovations. so i was forced to find lessons else where. well the girls that are teaching him are good and fun, but i feel like his skills are digressing a bit. at least we get to be in the pool 4 days a's some relief from all the heat.
4. the boy climbed a ladder at the park this week that i was scared to let him climb. but i figure i was the only one holding him back and to let him try it. it was very tall...taller than i could reach. but he did it. he's growing up so fast.
5. i had a fantastic time with brad and randi serey at their maternity photo session. these two were a great sport in the blazing sun and heat. the pictures came out beautifully and we got them done just in time, because the serey's had that baby 4 days later. congrats to you two and welcome to the world ellie....can't wait to meet you!
6. while doing the above photo shoot, i got to go on the lake worth pier for the first time. i am not really sure why i have never done this before. i think that the fact that they charge a fee to get on the pier was deterring me, but now that i know it's only $1...i can't wait to take the boy out there. we saw so many different kinds of fish, and let me stress the SO MANY. it's crazy to think that all those fish were right there where people swim. fearless. it was great being out there with someone who knows so much about fish too....i was like a little kid. "brad, what's that one? what's that? oh...look at that!"
7. the boy and the hubs had a daddy/son beach day. i love it when they go do stuff without me. don't get me wrong, i miss the fun, but i think that it's really good for the boy...and the hubs. the boy is so used to being with me ALL THE TIME, i think its a fun change of pace for him to spend alone time with daddy.
8. the boys first trip to the fire station. we stopped by the other day to just see what would happen, and the fire chief ended up giving us a personal tour. the boy got to climb up in all the fire trucks and he learned all the names and functions of the different trucks. i think he was a little confused as to why it took me so long to take him there. he loved every minute of it. he even got his very own helmet...but due to his mega-head it doesn't fit. so i have started planning out a felt fire hat for the boy...i am having a little trouble committing to starting, i am afraid i am going to mess it up. i've never made a hat before.
9. my new favorite band...boom chick! we were introduced to this band when the hubs old high school buddy called him up to make a skateboard deck for this band. we instantly fell in love with the old school surf rock feel and come on....who doesn't love a girl drummer?!?!?
10. i finally decided on a design for some floor pillows that i have been wanting to make for the play room. i have been crunching numbers and converting measurements (because inevitably the tutorial i found is in german). now the fun part starts...deciding on fabric.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

sweet little birdie mobile

at this point i am pretty sure that my cousin and his wife have opened the gift that i made for their soon to be daughter. so it's safe to post pictures and share this project with you guys. i have seen these fabric bird mobiles for a while now, and have just been searching for an excuse to make my own. they are so sweet and swing around so beautifully. i found the pattern for the birds over at spool, if you are into sewing and haven't checked out their website you should.

the fabric choice was an easy one for me. my cousin and his wife are naming their baby after our grandmother, and since i have so much of her old fabric collection i knew that's what i had to use. they are decorating her room in a pink and white winnie the pooh theme. i thought these sweet little vintage fabric birds just screamed "hundred acre woods". i hope that they love the mobile as much as i do. i think it's one of my favorite things i have ever made.


i received a package in the mail from on of my favorite artists/friends, brandon mclean. you may remember a post i wrote about his art a few months ago. i can't wait to get these framed and hung up! thanks again brandon, you know that these pieces will be well loved. here are a few links if you want to check out more of brandon's work:

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

joys of parenting: dealing with bullies

i want to start this post off by saying that i need your advice. i know that a lot of my readers are parents and for those of you who are not, maybe you will have some great outside knowledge to share too.

the boy and i were at the park the other day. he had brought one of his race cars to play with. well a group of older boys, probably about 6-ish, saw that car and wanted it. and so the taunting began. the older boys took his car and proceeded to play with it. my boy chased them all over the playground, and you could tell he just really wanted to play with them. the whole situation turned into a giant game of "keep the car away from the little kid".

watching this all happen made me very anxious. i sat on the edge of the bench ready to pounce on the first one to lay a hand on my son. i was having an internal moral dilemma. "should i just jump in and put a stop to the whole thing and remove the boy and his car?" the boy didn't seem to mind that the older kids were playing with his car, he just wanted to be a part of the action. "do i let the boy figure it out on his own?" would this teach him the importance of problem solving. i kept having mental images of the boy as a teenager running to me to fight all his battles, and god knows that's not what i want to happen.

so what do you think? how would/do you deal with taunting and bullies? how do you walk the fine line of parenting and over-protecting? how do you create a son that knows how to stand up for himself without creating a bully of your own?

Monday, July 11, 2011

dark chocolate elvis cupcakes

these cupcakes are super rich and yummy. i was inspired by a recipe found here, i tweaked it just a bit.

cupcake ingredients:

1 cup flour

1/3 cup dark cocoa powder

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

2 tsp. cinnamon

1 cup sugar

1 cup mashed banana (about 2.5 bananas)

2 eggs

2 tablespoons canola oil

1 tsp. vanilla extract


step 1:

preheat the oven to 350 degrees. grease a 12 cup muffin tin or line with paper liners. in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. set aside.

step 2:

in a large bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients until combined – sugar, mashed banana, eggs, oil and vanilla. whisk the dry ingredients into the wet until combined. divide evenly among the muffin tins.

step 3:

bake the cupcakes for 22 – 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in comes out clean. allow to cool completely before frosting.

peanut butter frosting ingredients:

1 stick butter, softened

1/2 heaping cup peanut butter

4 cups powdered sugar

dash of milk

cream together the peanut butter and butter until smooth. sift in the powdered sugar, adding milk as needed. stir together all the ingredients until you reach the consistency of frosting you prefer. frost your cooled cupcakes.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

DIY: airplane magnets

we have had lots of rainy summer afternoons here lately so indoor crafting has been a must! i saw these cute airplane magnets on pintrest the other day and knew that the boy would love them.

step 1:
collect all your supplies.
you'll need a clothes pin, popsicle sticks (3), paint, glue, and a magnet.
paint all your pieces.

step 2:
glue the wings on either side of the clothes pin.

step 3:
glue the tail wings in place.
adhere magnet to the bottom of the plane.

10 things i couldn't live without this week:

1. some amazing 4th of july activities. i had so much fun setting off tons of fireworks with the hubs and watching the annual lake worth raft race. to bad the boy was terrified of the fireworks this year.
2. coffee! i probably could have used about twice the amount that i actually consumed!
3. my new stroller tire...i was starting to really miss those long walks/jogs with the boy and the dog. but no worries, we are back in buisness.
4. going out to dinner with some of my favorite lake worth ladies to celebrate lori's birthday. had an amazing time eating stone ground hummus and throwing napkins. opa!
5. got some serious crafting/sewing done this week. finished the project i have been working of for my cousin's baby. now it's hanging up in my living room and every time i look at it i fall more in love with's a good thing it's so pink or else it might have found a permanent residence here at my house. haha hope to get pictures of the finished project up this week.
6. mod podge. i am not sure why it too my until now to try this wonder of the crafting world...but i am in love. i have been mod podge-ing anything and everything that i can imagine. and to top it all off, it's super fun to peel off your fingers once it's dried.
7. a fantastic playdate/lunch date at the south florida science museum. our friends christine and ebba are hands down some of our favorite people in the world. we met here in lake worth, but oddly enough christine and i went to high school together (although we didn't know each other then) in orlando. she is one of the sweetest ladies i know, and has impeccable taste in music! she has been a busy little bee with a work project that's finally now we have her back in mommy world! did i mention what a joy her daughter is. ebba and the boy are just 2 weeks apart in age and she is definitely the apple of his eye. when they play together there is nothing but giggles, giant smiles, and tons of fun!
8. i know the hubs has got to be tired of my dropping hints in his ear about how much we miss him. he's been working so much lately. but i have to say, the other night the hubs had to stay out of town over night for work, and it was one of the most productive nights i have had in a while. i didn't turn the tv on once (except while i was trying to fall asleep - the irony in this is that i tell the hubs every night that he should try to go to sleep with the tv OFF. he will sleep better. and here i am tossing and turning with the tv ON). thrusday night i cut two friends hair, worked on baby k's gift, read a ton of my book, and even did a little laundry. but looking back on it all now, while i enjoyed my night of "me" time...i would have rather had the hubs with me, curled up on the couch, falling asleep watching tv.
9. saturday's much needed family fun day. we woke up to black skies, so we knew we had to set our sights indoors (which is kinda weird for us), we were not really sure what to do with ourselves. after much deliberation, and almost sabotaging ourselves at chuck-e-cheese, we decided to head to downtown west palm beach. we grabbed lunch on the water and then headed to leaping lizards. we knew that there was potential for this place to be out of control on a rainy saturday, but we didn't care....we were ready to play. it was a mad house, but then again we generally think that anywhere with more than 2 kids is a mad house. the boy had a blast in all the bounce houses and we watched and laughed about how smart/funny/silly the boy can be. 10. the boy peed on the potty like "daddy does" last night. it was so cute. for a few weeks he's been saying that he "wants to do it like daddy does", but i wasn't really sure that we could make that work for him, but turns out we could. he was so proud of himself. mom's of boys, how do you feel about potty training standing up?

Saturday, July 9, 2011

i want that art.

oh wait...i already own all of it, because all of this is done by the hubs. i have been so proud of him for getting his hands back in the paint lately. he's had a sudden creative spike and i love it. he asked me to take some new/better pictures of some of the permanent pieces in the house. hope you love them just as much as we do!

this is the hubs most recent project.

this ninja turtle lamp was made of all the hubs old collection.
it's perfect in the boys room.

this is our family portrait wall.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

a peak inside: the boys room

remember the awesome print i got for the boy from jsgd? well here is a little peak in his room to see it hung up. i love the print so much and so does the boy.

Monday, July 4, 2011

happy independence day

i wish this was scratch and sniff so you could smell the deliciousness coming from these nectarines. hope everyone has a safe and fun holiday. please take a minute to stop and think about all that you have to be thankful for. don't forget to stop and smell the flowers....or the fruit bowl.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

sweet little birdie

these little ladies have been keeping my too busy to blog. hope you all have a fantastic holiday weekend.
looking forward to some sweet homemade gifts and sundays 10 things.
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