Monday, August 19, 2013

Love Summer

Guess what I did this afternoon?

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Summertime Fun and Activities

I disappeared for a while!  No great adventures or fabulous vacations to write about, just life with three kids at home all day.  It's been a busy mix of swimming lessons, summer camps, play dates, and other random things from our summertime bucket list.  (We're actually making some good progress on this!).

It seems to be that the kids' new favorite activity is geocaching.  I am hoping it is because they love to explore the great outdoors and see new things, but really I think it must be the swag.  Either way, I'm happy.  It gets us out of the house and away from passive activities on electronic devices. 

Here's a few pics from our latest exploits:

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Caching In!

We finally tried geocaching for the first time over the weekend, and the kids had a great time.  (We've been loyal letterboxers for 7 years now, so we'd been reluctant to think about geocaching.)  Now we definitely have a new family hobby to add to our list of things to do.  

Our very first attempt at finding a cache was not successful.  The girls were disappointed that we didn't find anything at first, but we later found out that that particular cache was missing.  We located another geocache on Sunday, and our second try went much better.  We found the cache, the kids traded trinkets, and we logged our first find!  Hurray!  

Because of where the cache was hidden, it sort of looks like the kids are in jail.  I took another photo close by so I could get all the kids together.  I think we will have to do this again.  

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Ribbon Bow Hair Ties

I originally made these ribbon hair ties for my two youngest daughters for the Fourth of July.  (I apologize for the awkward photos.  One of my little models was being sort of wriggly!). I found a beautiful tutorial for these at The Ribbon Retreat's blog (there are lots of great ideas for ribbon if you are a ribbon addict like I am).  They were super easy to make and come together fairly quickly.  This project is also a fun way to use up end up using a little bit of lots of different ribbons.  
I altered the directions slightly.  For the hair bow with the dark blue ribbon, I used their recommended lengths (7-8 inches).  When I made the bows for the baby, I used ribbons cut to about 4-5 inches.  Also, I just heat sealed the ends instead of using Fray waiting for anything to dry. ;).

The girls really enjoyed wearing the ribbons, so I made them a set of pink hair ties for every day.  I can see this continuing for all the holidays--Halloween, Valentine's Day, every color!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Summer Fun Update

Hope everyone is enjoying their summers. We've gotten to several things on our summer wish list, but it seems like we are constantly adding new things that we would like to do. Regardless, I love having an instant list of activities to choose from with the kiddos. How's your summer? :)

Sunday, July 7, 2013

San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers

I took a day trip to San Francisco with the girls to see the Conservatory of Flowers.  We thought we would take advantage of the free admission that the Conservatory offers on the first Tuesday of the month.  While we planned to go see the new butterfly exhibit, we never actually made it inside.  We packed a picnic lunch and ate in the outside gardens.  The kids ended up having such a wonderful time playing and exploring the area that the Conservatory was closed by the time everyone decided that they were ready to go in.  :(  No matter--I don't think the kids minded at all.  They had such a great time looking around, no one felt like the missed out on anything!  Audrey was fascinated by all the flowers, people, birds, and activity.  It ended up being a great outing anyways.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Beaded Dangle Necklace

I saw this necklace over at My Girlish Whims and loved it right away. (She has great tutorials for beautiful jewelry pieces--this is one of my favorite blogs to browse for inspiration.)  I ended up making two different necklaces for myself and one each for my mom and mother-in-law for Mother's Day.  This necklace is great because you can switch around the colors to customize it to match an outfit.  The sparkly beads make it a little extra dressy.  The most challenging part was trying to find beads that were just the right size to space correctly across the chain.  I couldn't decide what I would wear more often, so I made one with gold chain and another with silver.  So happy with the way they turned out!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Cantor Art Center

Saturday was a gorgeous day in the Bay Area.  The kiddos and I took a drive to the Stanford campus and ended up having a picnic lunch in the Rodin Sculpture Garden.  It was the perfect place to hang out--plenty of shade, lots of space for Audrey to run around, and tons of benches and picnic tables to choose from.  Kelsey and Maddie enjoyed wandering around and viewing the color took of sculptures. 

Afterward, we went into the Art Center.  We spent about half an hour browsing the rooms (the length of Audrey's attention span).  The museum has a nice collection of pieces from around the world and a good representation of different time periods.  I think my favorite part was seeing Rodin's Thinker.  The kids had a good time....Kelsey was interested in the Greek and Roman art, and Maddie found the Japanese art engaging.  I am hoping we can return later this summer so we can look at some of the sections we didn't get to see this visit.  Given that admission to the museum is free, a visit of any length is well worth it.

Multi-Strand Bracelet

I've been into wearing bracelets lately, and usually I wear small single-strand bracelets.  These pieces are really easy to throw together, and you can string one onto stretch cord in just a few minutes--no findings and no tools needed!  This time I thought I might experiment with something a little different:

This bracelet was fun to make.  I enjoyed experimenting with beads of different sizes, colors, materials, and opacity.  The final piece ended up with a combination of glass, metal, and semi-precious stones that I have accumulated over the years.  Usually everything I make is matchy-matchy in monochromatic colors, but this time I went with purposefully unmatched beads. 

I used a sterling silver multi-strand clasp and crimp beads to attach the four strands of beads.  It took me about an hour total to put this together.


 I love the feel of this bracelet when I wear it.  It has a good weight to it, and the variety of colors mean that it will match a lot of different outfits.  Now I just need to make some matching earrings!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Happy Father's Day

Very best wishes for a Happy Father's Day to all the dads, grandpas, uncles, and friends who help take care of our little ones!  A really special Father's Day to my handsome husband!  I'm so fortunate to be sharing this parenting journey with you.

Tissue Flowers

I'm always looking for little ways to "green" our household a little more (both ecologically and economically).  One of my favorite tricks is to make tissue paper flowers.  There are a ton of tutorials on the web, and they are so easy to make.  

Once I got the hang of making them, I started using them for all sorts of things.  Every time we host a birthday party or some other celebration, we make flowers in colors that coordinate with the theme of the party.  These flowers were the table "centerpieces" for Kelsey's 13th birthday party.  Instead of buying balloons, we just hung up more flowers.  

I've also stopped buying bows and just tape on a tissue flower instead.  They make any package look so much more festive and cheery!

I love to make giant flowers!  It's kind of difficult to tell from the photo, but I used full sheets of tissue to make this large flower.  We hung this one up outside during another birthday celebration.  

The best part is that these flowers are free!  I just save all of the tissue that we get from presents and gifts throughout the year, and now we have a rainbow of colors to choose from.  The wrinkles in the tissue aren't really noticeable, and if any, just give the flowers more texture.  

Monday, June 10, 2013

Photo Pendant

This project was a sort of belated Mother's Day present to myself.  I adapted the pendant from this great tutorial at Polish the Stars.  I loved the idea of having a piece of jewelry with all four of the girls represented. 

Supplies needed:
  • 1 inch by 1 inch photo
  • Glass tiles (I bought the ones I used from this Etsy shop)
  • Exacto knife
  • Bail
  • Super glue
  • Dimensional adhesive

The first thing I did was to find a close up photo of the kids that still looked good when it was shrunken down to 1 inch by 1 inch.  I resized the picture in a Word document.  After printing it out, I placed the glass tile over the photo and used an exacto knife to cut around it. 

I put a few drops of the dimensional adhesive on the tile and used a toothpick to cover the entire surface.  No bubbles!  

I carefully put the photo face down on the tile and made sure that the edges were flush with the surface of the tile.  Some of the adhesive oozed out and I just used a paper towel to clean it up. 

Next I used super glue to attach the bail to the pendant.

And then one more layer of dimensional adhesive to cover the photo.  

After making sure that everything was super dry, I put the pendant onto a ball chain.  Now I've got my girls with me all the time!  

Since this was such an easy project, I made matching pendant necklaces for the three older girls.  Now we have a matching set, and they love wearing them.

Friday, June 7, 2013

End of the School Year Insanity

Anyone else feeling the squeeze of end-of-the-school year madness?  It seems like the number of activities, projects, and performances go through the roof during the months of May and June.  This week we have had an open house, science fair, field trip, tap dancing dress rehearsal (and show tonight), middle school social, 18 month check-up for Audrey (with shots and fever to go along with it), and Pocket Day (for which Maddie decided she wanted to make a special pocket shirt and so we sewed 60 pockets to her T-shirt!!!!).  I'm so on-the-go right now, I can't fall asleep at night until 3AM because I keep thinking that I am forgetting to do something, feed someone, or be somewhere.  I'm ashamed that we've eaten pizza so many times in the past two weeks that the kids actually asked for rice and beans last night! 

How many more days until school gets out?

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Twirly Skirt

Maddie loves skirts that are full enough to twirl around in.  (She has a twirl test, and apparently this one passes.)   I found this tutorial at Creating My Way to Success a while ago, and it was a great pattern to try since I'm still a real beginner as far as sewing goes.  Maddie chose her own fabric which explains why it is really colorful and covered in peace signs.  
The most challenging part of the skirt was measuring and cutting out the six triangular panels.  (Have I mentioned that math is also so not my strongest area?)  Once I got all the pieces cut out, it was pretty easy to sew them together and attach the waist band.  Instead of sewing a ruffled edge like she suggests (I don't have the right attachment for my sewing machine), I just folded the fabric over a 1/2 inch and sewed the hem. 

Maddie was happy with her new skirt.  It is perfect for warmer springtime and summertime weather.  She said it is super comfortable, especially with the stretchy waist band.  I am thinking that I may actually be brave enough to try another one.  

I just had to include this close-up of Maddie.  It is a little blurry, but I love it.  She is beginning to look so grown-up!