Sunday, February 28, 2010

Starter Pots and Terrariums

We are desperately awaiting the arrival of spring in our house. The winter has taken its toll and my vitamin D deficiency is at an all time low (okay, so I really don't have a vitamin D deficiency, I just REALLY miss the sun). So to lift our spirits we decided to exercise our green thumbs. None of us actually have a green thumb, but we're working on developing one. I, personally, know my limitations in the care of plants, so the girls and I made mini terrariums. I figured moss grows under our trees in the backyard with no help, it seems like something that we could keep alive. I like the little burst of green that these bring into the house (seeing as we have no house plants).

My mother is a little more adventurous and much better at keeping plants alive (I need verbal cues for food and drink, not just silently waiting for water in a little pot). She and the girls planted their flower seeds in starter pots. Hopefully they will sprout and we will be able to transfer them when the weather gets warmer. The cashier at Home Depot seemed very surprised that the girls wanted to plant their own garden and that we were letting them. I guess they don't get too many kids in to buy potting soil and seeds (which is unfortunate).

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Button-down shirt recon

So I just got my own sewing machine back in December and so far it has been a love hate relationship. Well, mostly hate on the sewing machine's part - it despises me. It mocks me when I attempt to make anything, bunching the thread, tangling, just being a bully all around. I've tried turning the other cheek, killing it with kindness, but the darn thing is as stubborn as a mule! I'm not really sure what caused the change of heart last night, but my sewing machine actually cooperated with me and allowed me to make something. A complete something from start to finish all in one sitting! I'm very proud. So without further ado....
This is my button down adult shirt reconned to a little summer dress for Bijou. I bought this shirt from the Salvation Army for $1.50. It's a really gauzy, lightweight cotton with tiny brown pinstripes. I thought it would make a nice breezy summer dress.

This is my end result. It's not bad for a first attempt (especially considering my stubborn coworker). The straps could be longer, but all in all, it fits okay. I think the next time I do one, I will use a wider shirt (probably a man's shirt) so it will be more flowy.

(not sure what going on with my model's face....)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Kiddo Photography

Every now and then I like to let one of the kids loose with the camera. I usually forget that I've done it and a few days later I get a pleasant surprise when I upload the pictures. This weekend, Ashni took some pictures while I built their dollhouse. Enjoy!

We were so happy to see 60+ degrees this weekend! Zion has on fuzzy footie PJ's under her overalls.
Bijou got a marker and a piece of scrap wood and made a very lovely drawing. It's currently on display in her room.
Ashni is holding the phone to Zion's ear with one hand and taking the picture with the other.

Not really sure what Jena is doing, but she seems to be enjoying herself (notice the footie pajamas on Zion)!

I'll throw in a little Bijou-ism here because I haven't done one in a while. Tonight at dinner, Ashni wasn't eating (she hasn't been feeling well):

Bijou: Ashni is like she's in China.

Me: What?

Bijou: She's like she's in China.

Me: What do you mean?

Bijou: If she's in China, she'll eat China food.

Apparently our breakfast for dinner should have been Chinese food and then Ashni would have eaten it.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Wordless Wednesday...Hello?

(pardon the runny nose....)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Brand New Dollhouse

I've been getting taunted daily by all of the modern dollhouse that making an appearance on the internet lately. I love them, ALL of them! So I woke up inspired today and determined to build a fabulous modern house. Fortunately the temperature today was a fantastic 60+ degrees. Now, we don't own power tools (or any tools really except for a hammer, several screwdrivers and a Dremel), so building this house was a brain teaser. I had some scraps of wood that I swiped from the Home Depot throw away bin and a collection of various Home Depot Kids Clinic projects that had been mutilated by overzealous children. I figured somewhere in all of those random pieces a dollhouse lurked. I would say it was more like doing a logic puzzle than actually constructing anything. I did not cut any of the wood, but I did have to use the Dremel to shave of a few millimeters from a couple of pieces. Originally I was going to sketch out the different pieces and try to put a design on paper, but that didn't work out so well. So, I just winged it!

The big girls helped dismantle some of the pieces. Jena pulled out the nails and Ashni sanded all the rough edges.

These are the pieces that we had to choose from. There were lots of nails, but fortunately no trips to the ER for tetanus shots.

Here it is pretty much completely constructed. The white door on the front slides. I used some pieces from a message board that had a track to slide the white board in. The door is actually a piece of the white board.

Jena helped out a lot. She's good at getting her hands into tight spaces and she's very enthusiastic about creating things. She was out in the garage pulling out nails before I could even get out there.

Completed paint job. The little trees came from out bush outside. It smells very piney. The little planter is from a perpetual calendar that we made a couple of months ago.

Notice the sleek modern fireplace complete with photo of Miles Davis!

The kids couldn't wait to furnish their new house. So now, they have this house with the living room and dining room and they've put all of the beds in the barn that we found yesterday.

We have retired the cardboard dollhouse. It hasn't been discarded, but it has been relocated to their closet. I'm sure it will still get plenty of use.

This week's awesome find

I can't credit the Goodwill with this one. We found it at the Salvation Army for $10. I love it! I can't wait to get it in to the girls' room.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Friday = Bread

Fridays in our house used to mean bread making. We'd taken a little vacation from the bread making, but I think it's coming back. This morning the air in our house was filled with the pulsing sounds of conscious vibes reggae and scent of fresh baked bread. We made two loaves of whole wheat and oatmeal bread with sunflower, sesame and flax seed (with cinnamon and raisins in one loaf for the girls).

Spice Jars

I really love buying my spices from our local Farmer's Market (actually I love buying everything from our Farmer's Market), but I hate having all of the little plastic baggies that the spices are packaged in.

Because we still live like college students, a spice rack is a foreign object in our house, but thanks to Gerber and their perfectly sized baby food jars, we now have spice jars! YAY! I printed the nice labels from Martha Stewart and rubber cemented them to the jars. Now I just need to figure out what to do with all of this Gerber applesauce...

Thursday, February 18, 2010

My first leather baby shoes

I love making shoes for my babies, but it's really only something I've been able to do for the first year or so of their lives. Once they start walking, they need something a little more sturdy (fabric wears out really quickly on concrete). So this week, on my trip to our local Goodwill I picked up this pretty unattractive leather skirt. I figured I would try my hand a little pair of leather shoes for Zion.

I'm still getting the hang of this whole sewing machine thing and I really don't think mine likes me very much, so these were sewn by hand. The inside and the little flower are felt and the strap closes with a little snap (the button is just for show).

My index finger is one big callous now, but I think it was well worth it. They tuned out pretty cute and Zion really likes them.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

My 1st Blog Award!

A big thanks to Erin over at The Well Trained Homeschool for my first blog award!

The rules for accepting this award:

1.Thank the person that gave you the award

2.Pass this award on to 15 bloggers you've recently discovered
and whom you think are fantastic!

3.Contact the Bloggers you pick to let them know they've won

4.State 7 Things about yourself!

So, here are 7 Adrienne fun facts:

1. I have a gazillion children's books in my head just waiting to get out. Someday, they will.

2. I am an artist because I feel like it keeps me alive. Painting is like breathing for me. If I go too long without it, it's all bad...

3. I'm a procrastinator. BIG TIME!

4. I really wish I could win the lottery so that we could afford to go back to our life in St. Croix. I desperately miss the Caribbean and hate that my littlest baby has never been in the sea.

5. I don't like adult shoes (wearing them or buying them or looking at them - they suck), but baby/toddler shoes, I LOVE!

6. I LOVE John Waters films and many other off color productions of film and TV.

7. I don't like to talk about myself and these 7 things were REALLY hard and took me a very long time to come up with...

So there you have it.

Now on to my 15 blogs.

Made By Joel - he's amazing.
SoFull Sista - naturally stylish
Filth Wizardry - a great wealth of preschool (plus) projects
kirstencan - awesome crafty homeschooling inspiration
The Mahogany Way - holistic mama
My Montessori Journey - lots of great Montessori activities
Milk & Honey Mommy - homeschooling family whose kids have the best names
Dirty Face Angels Academy - fun projects, ideas and inspiration
Ghetto Blastic - my St. Louis hip hop connect
Dear My Kids - felty fun
The Growing May Farm - an awesome homeschool family
Apollo's Academy - another awesome homeschool family

Okay, so I don't have 15 off hand. I'm new at this whole blogging thing! Sue me...but I'm getting there.

Sorting with Bijou

Tuesday is supposed to be our day off from school so we can spend some quality time with Daddy, but Daddy is a night owl and still asleep. So we got some work done anyway. While the older girls were finishing up their definitions for their spelling/vocabulary flashcards, Bijou and I did some sorting. Both of her sorting activities temporarily made me forget that it is only 30 degrees outside. The first was sorting sea glass that we painstaking collected the last few weeks of living in the Virgin Islands.

I loved watching her hold each piece up to the sun so that she could see their individual colors.

The other activity was sorting buttons. I really just enjoy seeing objects sorted by color. Roy G. Biv was really my first love and it's been hard to shake him (don't tell my husband...)

Monday, February 15, 2010

Paper Making

It snowed in Oxford today. A nice, steady snow with fat snowflakes. That doesn't happen often here. It was nice to look at, but honestly snow just just means it's extra cold out. Extra cold outside is a great excuse for extra fun (and messy) inside activity. So the girls and I made paper today. Paper making a really simple and can be made with stuff we already have around the house. Be forewarned that making paper can be VERY messy, so if you're not in the mood to have the entire room you are working in be wet, I'd advise doing it outside when the weather gets warm.

First the kids tore little pieces of paper towel and toilet paper into foil pans of water. Then they added bits of colored tissue paper (one tray was reds and pinks, the other was blues and purples). They stirred and mixed until the paper broke down. This can be done faster if you have a little food processor (a craft specific food processor), but it's more fun for the kids when they can use their hands.

I made some screens from a few old frames and some cheap tulle that we had. After the paper was thoroughly broken down and mixed, they dipped the screens into the pulp and strained the water out. The wet paper is flipped onto a piece of felt with a folded towel underneath (to soak up the copious amounts of water that will inevitably go everywhere). General it takes FOREVER for paper to dry, but drying time is exponentially faster if you put your paper between two pieces of felt and pop it in the microwave for a few minutes. Keep an eye on the microwave though especially if you are using acrylic felt. The felt we were using was acrylic felt, so after many uses it melted (which was interesting in itself). We will probably not make paper again until the spring when the kids can do it outside and the paper can dry in the sun. Now we just have to figure out a good project that calls for homemade paper.

*ETA: The paper towel didn't break down as well as we would have liked, so it made big chunks in the paper. I think just using the tissue paper and toilet paper would be a more homogeneous mix and yield a thinner (easier to dry) paper.

Playhouse Plans

I mentioned a few days ago that we are building a portable playhouse in the spring. We are making small preparations for construction. We got a few sets of second hand sheets from City Thrift in Tupelo (which were 50% off - so, SUPER cheap). Hopefully we will be shopping for PVC in the next couple of weeks.

My complete playhouse shopping list includes:
  • sheets
  • 2 vinyl shower curtains
  • indoor/outdoor carpet (in faux grass)
  • Velcro
  • large buttons
  • PVC (of course)
Oh and here are my very technical playhouse blueprints.