Monday, January 31, 2011

Peanut Butter Banana Pizza

My little Clinton loves Peanut Butter.  He asks for a Peanut Butter sandwich for breakfast.  He asks for one his lunch box for school.  And he usually requests one at bedtime.  He's only been eating Peanut Butter for about a year and I'm glad he finally is because it's one of the few forms of protein he'll consume (although he is getting better).

However, I tire of making the same old PB sandwich day after day.  So today I decided to mix it up a bit.  While we were in the midst of one of those horrific trips to the grocery where you have to go even though you have all three kids but you are out of everything in your house you need, I picked up a pack of whole wheat pitas.

I started by heating my oven to 400.  I threw the pita in for a few minutes just to firm/crisp it up a bit.

After it reached the texture I thought Clinton would like, I let it cool for a few.  I then spread a nice layer of Peanut Butter on it.

I sliced up some bananas to resemble pepperonis and spread them around.

I then sprinkled on a few semi-sweet chocolate morsels just to make sure he would eat it.

I finished it off by taking my pizza cutter and slicing her up just like a pizza.

And I had one happy customer on my hands!  And just like a real pizza, he at everything but the outer crust.  Score one for the mommy girl.

Now if your child will eat coconut that would be a good addition...looks a little like the cheese on a real pizza.  I'm sure you could think of other wonderful things your child might find exciting...but try to keep it semi-healthy!  ;-)


Friday, January 28, 2011

Made With Love

Looking back on my childhood, one of the things I really appreciate about all of my mother's craftiness is that all the cool things Chelsea and I had didn't feel like someone was buying our love.  It was a beautiful Labor of Love.  She put a lot of time into making things for us...something I'm learning to do for my kids, as well...even though Pottery Barn Kids and The Land of Nod often make me wish I could just buy their love.  ;-)

Heidi Sage was born in March of 2009.  By that December I had already been working on an idea for her First Birthday present.  I was very sure I knew exactly. what. I. wanted.

Isn't it beautiful?  I had envisioned hours of me and Heidi Sage playing kitchen.  It was adorable.  It was timeless.  It was RED.  Oh, I was in know, for Heidi Sage.

Anyway, after I calculated a purchase plus tax plus delivery total of over $800, my budget committee informed me I was living in "La La Land".  Sigh.

So I started hunting.  I was keeping an eye on Craig's List, checking out all my favorite junk/antique stores, and even hoping for some kind of miracle sale at PBK.  Nothing was turning up...especially that miracle sale.

One day I was out with some girlfriends and we stopped in at one of my favorite antique stores.  We were actually shopping for one of the other girls a desk, but my jaw dropped when I turned the corner and saw this piece.  It wasn't Pottery Barn.  It wasn't even red.  But it was PERRRRRRRR-fect.  It was hand made.  It was solid wood.  And it was in need of a new paint job (and a little smarter configuration on the doors).  They had it marked at $86 and I talked them down to $68.

So I took it apart, sanded it down, filled in holes I wouldn't be using anymore and primed it.  (And cursed myself a few times for buying such a huge project!)  There was some kind of awful, gummy paint on it that took hours and hours to sand off.

Then I repainted and reassembled it, moving the hinges and knobs on the upper cabinets.

Now, her birthday was in March....but she didn't receive this until August...but she's one and did not know...nor did she care.  However, once it made it's way up to the play room both Clinton and Heidi Sage loved it.  We played and played and played with it.

By September I had decided we were going to need a refrigerator.  I wanted one I could paint to match her other piece.  And I found this one at The Land of Nod.  Isn't it beautiful?

It was pretty close to the same style.  It was a natural finish I could paint.  And it was only $ shipping.  This time my budget committee looked at me like I had lost my marbles.  Boo.

So I went hunting.  I spent two whole school days (those very valuable days when the bambinos are in someone else's care and I can do the things I can't do with them because they can't behave) at 9 months pregnant going from store to store to store...when I came across this.  At the time it seemed perfect.  While it was an antique steamer/canner, I thought I could just paint it white and it would look like an adorable refrigerator.  I called Deborah...texted her pictures....hemmed and hawed...ignored her when she said "Don't but it today!  Go home and think about it and get some measurements"...and then...

I know what you're thinking..."You didn't REALLY buy that did you?"  Actually, yes I did.  It was a hormonal decision made on a time crunch...with some serious buyer's remorse.  Especially once I got home and realized it was ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY the wrong scale.  I was sick.  I had spent $67 on something I was going to have to try to hide from my husband.  As soon as I realized what I had done, I hauled it up to the attic until I could come up with a plan.

That's where Deborah comes in...again.  Luckily my mother is always just a call away and can solve just about any problem.  I started texting her more pictures.  Giving her dimensions.  And pleading with her to come up with something.  

A day or two later she called me with a plan.  She had some scrap wood and she thought we could build a base.  So, when she came up for Rex's birth she brought in her suitcase on the airplane the wood cut to size and her nail gun.  Ummm...have you ever packed a nail gun in your suitcase????  It's a sure fire way to get security to go through your things.

Once we got the base together and realized it was going to work, I let out a HUGE sigh of relief and began sanding the rust off of my clunker turned treasure.  I then sprayed it with a white Rustoleum primer followed with a white top coat.  I also painted the base to match the red in her original kitchen piece.  Deborah traced the legs on the original kitchen piece, returned home to Texas, cut them out in her workshop, and brought them back at Christmas.  Deborah, along with my Dad, put all the final bolts and screws in to make sure it was sturdy.

The kids and I LOVE it!!  I mean, LOVE it!  And everyone we've had over to play LOVES it!  Heidi Sage got lots of Melissa & Doug play food for Christmas.  To finish out the kitchen is a table and chair set that was my grandmother's when she was little, then it Deborah's when she was little, then Chelsea and I had it when we were little, and now my kids are enjoying it!  The table cloth is a red and white check summer blanket Deborah had made for Clinton when he was a baby.  I pulled an old coffee table out of the attic for some added counter space and storage (one day Rodney's going to give in and let me paint it...or he'll take an extended work trip and I'll just do it anyway).  And do you recognize that apron???

And to round out the Dream Kitchen is the adorable Grill I had my parents buy Clinton for Christmas.  And, of course, the Melissa and Doug shopping cart is a nice touch from the kids' Nana.  Not to mention Clinton's artwork from school that I framed...he loves showing it to everyone who comes in.

But's still not finished.  Deborah's adding one more piece for Heidi Sage's 2nd Birthday.  So, be on the lookout for that towards the end of March.  And then that should make it complete...  If it gets any bigger than that we'll have to get Heidi Sage her own HOUSE!  Ha!

Cooking up memories,

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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Birthday Dress

Soooo...the last post we made was about our Pretty Posies...and pretty they were.  So pretty, in fact, we tied for the most viewed link over at Sugar Bee.  We're so excited people are liking our tutorials!!

Then we got to saw the Pretty Posies...and you saw Heidi Sage wearing one, but not the ones made in the tutorial...did you happen to wonder what those particular flowers were for?

Well, below is Chelsea's post from her personal blog about those mysterious flowers.  Normally we only post kid things here, but since yesterday was Chelsea's birthday and the flowers had something to with her birthday, we thought we'd shake things up a bit.  So without further ado...heeeeeeeeerrrrrrrrrreeeeee's Chelsea...


It's been two months and I haven't had time to post ANYTHING!!! Don't worry, I'm still here.  Lately I've been spending a lot of time working on design projects for school and creating cute little things for Dressing Heidi Sage. 

On my birthday I usually like to make a cute little dress to wear out and celebrate.  Unfortunately school has restricted my time so much I decided I had no choice but to buy some off the rack.  Gasp!!!!!  Well, as many of you know there are NO clothes in stores in January.  Retailers and designers know that nobody shops in January because they're recovering from Christmas so there is very little new merchandise hitting the floors.  This means that there are never any party dresses for my birthday, which is how I got started making my birthday dress every year in the first place.  This year since I knew I wasn't starting from scratch I decided to shop early.  I shopped online after Christmas and New Years when all the holiday dresses were marked down.  That's right, I like a good sale;)

I found this cute Tracy Reese dress on sale at Dillard's.  I'm usually a good judge of online purchasing based on my experiences with fashion and my knowledge of fabrics.  This looked cute in the close-ups, I liked the fiber content, I liked the vintage look, and I liked the chiffon edge but I wasn't sure if I was going to like the little appliques on the chest.
 The dress looked a little different when I received it than I expected.  The neckline was higher (clearly it had been opened for the photoshoot) and the chiffon edging was out of control long around the neck and arms (also clearly altered for the photoshoot).  The dress, however, fit cute and it was different than the usual cocktail attire that you can find during the winter months.  I liked velvet because it made it feel wintery and I liked the vintage vibe that the dress was giving off.
 The decorative appliques weren't doing it for me however.  They looked cheap in comparison to the dress fabric and they didn't seem significant enough for the lovely velvet.  I did, however, like some of the beads and stones on the appliques so I very carefully took them apart and saved all of the beads.
 I know this makes me look and sound like a crazy person, but I liked the elements so I wanted to reuse them rather than just trashing them.
 The first thing I did was open the neckline so it looked like the photoshoot picture.  Then I trimmed the chiffon trim around the arms and neckline.  It was starting to look more like the original picture but it still wasn't exactly what I wanted. 
 So I made some flowers and I used the beads that came on the dress as the flower centers.
 This is much better than those wimpy appliques!
 Then I sewed the flowers on the dress!  I know I'll have to remove them for dry cleaning so I made them separate units and simply tacked them onto the dress.  I also switched the flowers to the opposite side as the original dress because I like to carry my purse on my right shoulder and I don't want to mess up my flowers.
 The pretty posies!
To complete my vintage, wintery look I found these great pantyhose at ModCloth.
 And I found these fabulous shoes at Kate Spade.  I love Kate Spade merchandise and I LOVE the Kate Spade store in North Park even more.  It's the happiest store in the whole mall.  You can't walk by or go in without smiling!  I was very patient and waited the shoes out until the second markdown.  Actually, I was going to buy them online but was a little bummed about the price, even though Brian said it wasn't a big deal.  The next day I decided I would go see them at the mall in person to make sure I really loved them.  I went to the Kate Spade store and I loved them, but they didn't have my size:(  That night I went back home and got on the website because I knew that they had my size online and they had dropped the price $70 in one day! AWESOME! I will get them on Tuesday, my actual birthday!  I'm so excited!
Brian and I will be celebrating my birthday on Saturday night, so I'll be wearing my cute new outfit!  I only wonder if my sister will think a sleeveless, crimson velvet dress is season appropriate?

Happy birthday to me,

Monday, January 24, 2011

Pretty Posies

Every girl loves pretty flowers.  Heidi Sage has quite an assortment of pretty posies to wear in her hair.  I'm going to show you how to make one type of flower that Heidi Sage loves to wear in her hair.  I plan on writing tutorials for several different types of flowers but I thought I'd start with the hardest ones first.  This is partly because I needed to make some anyway and partly because these are my personal favorite.  This is a simplified version of a technique that I learned from a milliner in Chicago. 

For these flowers you will need:
1. 1/8 - 1/4 yard Dupioni Silk (some other natural fibers will also work, but dupioni creates the most beautiful flowers)  DO NOT use WILL NOT work!  It must be silk!
2. Aleene's Stiffen-Quik
3. French netting or tulle (optional)
4. felt
5. buttons, beads, or baubles for the center decoration

Now let's get started! Cut the dupioni silk into 4" x 4" squares.  You will need 5.  You will also need 5 squares that are 3.5" x 3.5".
You will need Aleene's Stiffen-Quik.  There are other fabric stiffeners on the market but I have not used them so I cannot vouch for their effectiveness.  I know this fabric stiffener works quite well.

Cut each square into an organic petal shape.  You want each petal to be a little different much like on a real flower.  Make sure you leave the bottom of the petal straight across.  Also make sure that the lines in the dupioni run the length of the petal.

The 10 petals cut out.  Five petals are 4" x 4" and five petals are 3.5" x 3.5".

You want the two sizes to be about 1/2" to 3/4" different in size as you will stack them later.

Spray each petal with Stiffen-Quik making sure it is thoroughly coated.  Don't worry about using too much, there's no such thing!

After you soak the petal use your fingers to scrunch of the petals creating tiny ridges that go the same direction as the ridges in the dupioni.

The scrunched petal.

Once you have all the petals scrunched you can blot them off with a paper towel.  This will make them dry quicker.

After blotting, place them in the microwave.  Heat them 30 seconds at a time turning them over between increments.  It takes about 7-8 thirty second intervals to dry the petals.  You MUST supervise these while in the microwave.  Silk can catch on fire! 

When you pull them out of the microwave they will be stiff little sticks.

Next, spread the petal over a metal spoon.

Once it is over the spoon, steam the petal.  This creates the shape of a real flower petal.  Make sure not to burn your fingers.  You can use a clothes steamer to do this or a steam iron, both methods are very effective.

Once all of your petals are steamed open, you are ready to construct your flower.

Start with all of the big petals.  String the petals onto a needle and thread as shown.

String all five big petals onto the same string making sure that your have all of the petal cups turned the same direction.

Once all five petals are strung together you will create a circle with the thread linking the petals together.  Pull the thread tight bring the petals close to one another in the center.

Tie off thread and clip.

Now you are going to sew the petals together to make the flower fuller.  Do this on the back side about 1/3 5o 1/2 way up the flower petal.  Don't go too far or the petal separation won't look natural.

All of the petals are sewed to the petal next to them.  This helps fill out the shape of the petal.  Now repeat the above steps to create a circle of petals from your small petals.  Later your will stack the two layers together to have a 10 petal flower. 

Before you stack your two groups of 5 together you need to work out your center decorations.  I am using french netting but you could also use tulle, net, or russian netting.  I cut a strip that is about 2.5" wide and 12" long.  You gather the strip onto the needle and sew it into a circle like you did with the flower petals.

The circle is complete and the thread has been tied off and clipped.

Next stack your two layers of petals, your net, and apply a felt circle to the top of the net and underneath the petals on the bottom of the flower.

The bottom of the flower.  Sew through all layers to secure the flower.

Then add your buttons or decorative elements to put a little pizazz into the center of your flower.

Center details.  Once you've done this, all you need to do is attach a hair clip to the back and you've got a great bow!  The finished measurement of this flower is about 5.5" in diameter.  I also love these on a GRAND scale as a hat!  Those are cute for little girls and big girls alike!

Here's Heidi Sage sporting one of hers.  Now if we could just get that girl some cute clothes to wear!  ;-)

Happy gardening,

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