Thursday, December 22, 2011

Disney World reveals newest family friendly resort

I'm over on examiner today, sharing details about the new Art of Animation resort, shown here:

Art of Animation Resort, photo courtesy Walt Disney Company
The Cars themed rooms are particularly cute, and come complete with "cozy cone" details and furniture.

Monday, November 28, 2011

I know we've been busy...

But I didn't realize how busy until I heard some knocking at the back door....
The cause of the beak marks on our glass door!!


Apparently, I was a little slow about  handing out some morning chicken treats, and our fave hen, Big Red, decided to come up to the house to see what was causing the delay. Don't feel too sorry for the chicks, they are pretty spoiled at this point -- remember how little they were?

Here is another shot of Big Red, so you can see just how "big" she is...good thing we are raising the hens for eggs only, she looks like she is the perfect size for the roasting pan! (3 year old included for size comparison).
Chickens need hugs, too...


The cause for this disruption in the chicken treat delivery? This pretty girl, celebrating her three week birthday today:
Meet Olivia Grace, girl #4 for us!

We are slowly getting back on track and getting used to living on Olivia's nocturnal newborn schedule...I had intended to take off until the new year, but found myself back at work this week; I couldn't resist :) 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Halloween Figure Makeover

I have a cute project up on Halloween Alliance today -- come see!


This Precious Moments angel was cute, but not "me"...I like her better after a quick Halloween makeover.

See the original and get complete directions from Halloween Alliance--and take a fresh look at the collectibles around your house!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Recycled Disney Crafts

Just finished up two different projects that combine some of my favorite things--Disney World and crafting!
Tote made from Disney World shopping bags
I have been hoarding my Disney World shopping bags and park maps--I feel guilty tossing them out! This tote bag is made from three Disney bags, and it took about an hour to fuse and sew--when last seen it was hauling about 30 naked Barbies around the house, so it is big and sturdy! Directions with pictures and fusing tutorial here.

I also did some ridiculously easy recycled paper bows from my park brochures (I will note these also disappeared, I suspect little girls were involved):

Tutorial with pictures is here. The bows took about 5 minutes each, and I got 6 for a single brochure...may have to teach the kids to do this one--these would make cute Christmas package bows...

Sunday, July 3, 2011

We Have Eggs!

Look at these pretty things, courtesy of our own chickens! Remember how little they were?  They hatched March 6th, and we found our first eggs less than four months later:
We are averaging one egg per day right now.

 Since all the ladies are brown egg layers, we don't know who is laying yet; we suspect these are from the Reds or the Silkie. Speaking of Silkies, our pretty black Silkie hen "Annie" has been renamed "James"...she started crowing about a week ago! We are hoping to get some silkie chicks!

Eggs in action--one of these things is not like the others...can you spot the supermarket egg in this bunch? Hint: It is the anemic looking pale yellow one between the big robust orange home grown eggs!

Can you spot the store bought egg?

 The kids are having fun running out to the coop each morning to hunt for eggs...and the chickens enjoy the attention, as the girls bring them some kind of cereal or fruity treat leftover from breakfast. Watermelon is the biggest hit so far, with banana and my fancy imported muesli cereal a close second.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Disney Star Tours Grand Opening

I was lucky enough to be invited to the media opening of Star Tours at Disney's Hollywood Studios this past week. The special events folks outdid themselves with an amazing event! Not only was this a lot of fun, I got to ride the new Star Tours several times. If you are headed to Disney soon, I HIGHLY reccommend it!! New pieces on About.com are pending that go into detail about the ride and about Star Wars Weekends, but these are some of my personal photos I thought you'd enjoy.

We arrived and walked a "red carpet" to the Star Tours area. I am always amazed at all the secret exits and entrances in the disney parks!


R2 was a huge hit with everyone!

Darth Maul, grumpy but cool! And he can DANCE!

Adorable Ewoks were on hand to welcome us!

The food was outstanding and the presentation was cool. There were different cocktails at each station (which pregnant ladies like me could just admire, not try. The "Jedi Mind Trick" shown here was neon green and the one I saw being consumed most often.

One of about 15 food areas. I camped out at the shrimp one for awhile.

Jedi Mind Trick and other beverages.

Fun cake made by the Food Network. HUGE!

The Cantina band played a show

And other characters and music followed for a "Battle of the Bands".           
Thanks for reading! Up next, pictures and review of Star Tours...and the opening day ceremonies!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Disney World Spring Break Tips

Lines too long? Take a break for face painting or a temporary tattoo~
For my Disney followers, here are a few of my favorite pieces dealing with Disney World Spring Break. Some of these are directly about Spring break itself, while others are simply about dealing with crowds (which you will see!) and the busy times of year:

* Best Disney Resorts for Spring Break
* Surviving Spring Break at Disney World
* Disney World in April
* Extra Magic Hours at Disney World
* Affordable Disney Dining Tips

Thursday, March 24, 2011

FO: Girls Boutique Outfit now with Chicks!

 SO its no secret we're a little chick happy around here right now! The babies are GROWING so fast--they are starting to look like real chickens!

Inspired by our chick-happy life, here is a cute little outfit perfect for a farm visit--this one is a custom, but I am thinking of making one for Charlotte, I am happy with how it turned out and think it would look cute on her!

I like the red and white ticking, and wasn't sure about the chick fabric, but it works, I think. I used my own pattern, but this could easily be duplicated by using a commercial pattern and adding some extra details.

Close up of the chicken-themed cuff

Shirt close up!
This was fun to make--I love making kids clothing, it really goes so quickly since the pieces are so small.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

FO: Recycled Juice Pouch Easter Bags

Old juice pouches + marabou=cute Easter bags
So, I won't let my kids have Capri Suns or other sugary drinks (only two like juice anyway, and Juicy Juice seems to work just fine).

The only downside to this health concious decision? I have to go begging for colorful juice pouches to craft with. (Try explaining that to a Mom/friend--"I don't give my kids those gross drinks, but you do, so can I can the pouches? KThanxBye).

Each bag takes two matching pouches (use a sharp sewing needle in the machine. The maribou is sewn on, but I am guessing that a plastic friendly glue would work as well.

Cute recycled craft, just in time to be Easter purses for little girls...and if you hit up a friend for the used juiceboxes and use on-hand trim....free!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Wishlist: Some Recent Favorites

Since my camera has disappeared into the nexus of the universe (complete with new pictures of our bunnies and the super fast growing chicks), I am going to share a few pieces from my wishlist instead! My "wishes" usually include stuff I want to make myself, but these are simply lovely things made by other artists, pulled from my (many pages long) list of etsy favorites:

Pretty! Purple! Want!!!
This gorgeous coat is from etsy seller Enlightened Platypus, who is not only incredibly talented, she is super nice as well. This piece is made from recycled sweaters and fabric and looks like it was designed for dramatic entrances. Love it!

 
One of my favorite pieces ever.
 
Ok, the awful thing about this piece? I want it, even though I already own this bit of red loveliness from the same seller!

This arrived beautifully packaged with a nice note from the seller. She used my measurements to make it and it fits perfectly

 If you want a stunning, eyecatching well made sweater check out her etsy shop...you'll need to get in line though, these pretties sell out within minutes of posting!


I also love the stylish and exotic jewelry from seller XOXODana. I tend to gravitate to sellers who are not only talented but also take great photos :) I really love this piece, it has an organic feel to it, with a great mix of metal, leather and glass.

This seller is also a sweetie, though I haven't met her in person--we are actually slightly related! She is the sister-in-law of my favorite sister-in-law (the one I made these cashmere gloves for).  Queue the theme from "It's a Small World"!

I am also totally loving this Loch Ness monster plush from Alexzcreations. For me. Not the kids. Mine. Not theirs. No touchie!
Adorable, love the hat!
This seller is the creative genius/owner of the SpookyPooky blog--I shared some of her super cute hand-drawn Valentines last month as well...That's February and March...makes me want to check and see what she comes up with for April!

I'll be back this week as soon as my camera re-appears from the wormhole--I did get a chance to snap a finished minion, the chicks first time outside and the start of our rather ambitious garden (2,000 square feet of veggie goodness!) Yep, that's thousand--so I will be begging people to take tomatoes off our hands in about two months!!

In the meantime, if you are in a Disney frame of mind, I am finishing up an exhaustive list of ride reviews for the Magic Kingdom...it's a tough job, but someone has to do it!!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Look! A bunny!!

I have been looking for an angora bunny for awhile--they are harder to find than you would think! I want an angora for two reasons--as a pet and for the fiber. Finding one that is friendly and doesn't mind the daily grooming the breed requires took awhile, but today we are picking up Louie:
Isn't he handsome?
Louie comes to us from the Luv-n-Bunns rabbit rescue organization, and the ladies I have spoken with there have taken such great care of him and have been so careful in placing him. I am glad to adopt him--both for his cute little furry self, and to support such a great organization! If you are looking for a bunny, consider adopting one instead of buying one retail, you'll save a life and gain a wonderful companion.

But wait, there's more bunny to this tale!!

I really wanted a bonded pair--although the girls and I will give him plenty of attention, I wanted him to have a friend so he didn't get lonely. He is such a sweetie that he got a little bullied by the girls and boys they tried to pair him with, so we figured he would be a solo bunny.

 We found out this morning that he finally found a match--a baby girl bunny about 6 weeks old. So we are picking up not one, but two bunnies today! I don't know what she looks like (the only things I cared about were that she like Louie and enjoy LOTS of attention from the girls). Jeff only cares that they poo--a lot, for his compost bins! She'll take a little trip back to the rescue when she's bigger, so she can be spayed (Louie comes to us neutered, as much as I love bunnies, I don't want babies!!)

I am putting them in the inlaw suite with the chickies for a day or two to let them adapt to all of us. My dad referred to me as "Ellie Mae Clampett" the other day on the phone, thanks to all the critters we have....

I will post pictures when we get them home and settled!

Friday, March 11, 2011

FO Friday: A sweater and a disaster!

Yeah, the sleeve colors are not perfect--but I would have had to buy another ball of yarn to match them!
So this sweater, last seen on a WIP wednesday , is now complete. I did decide not to use buttons, the holes are not in a good spot for me--they are a little too low. I am using a shawl clasp instead. I am really happy with this, and think it will be a good sweater for spring. The yarn is Noro Taiyo, which is a cotton/silk blend, and the pattern is Knitty's Mr. Greenjeans, with a modification for gauge, as Taiyo is a little heavier than the yarn called for in the pattern.
FO math for this piece: Great Pattern + Great Yarn = Great Sweater!

On to the disaster! You may remember this piece from another WIP Wednesday:
Off to such a good start--anyone know a giant who needs a cowl?
The math from this one is a little different--it looks like this:

Great Pattern + Gorgeous Yarn + "Winging it" when changing the yarn gauge=Giant disaster cowl!

I used the awesome "Pretty Thing" pattern, which I have used successfully for two other cowls before and Artyarns Beaded Mohair Silk (which is absolutely luxurious to work with). The problem? the Artyarns is a sport or light worsted weight and the pattern calls for fingering/lace. So I just lopped off two pattern repeats from the width and got to knitting. The awful thing is, I know how to modify patterns correctly, I just didn't bother messing with the math. Mistake. huge, oversized, giant cowl of a mistake. I pulled this triumphantly off the needles, ready to wear something lovely--soft and sparkling....and realized how oversized it was. It looks terrible, and all the lace work is just squashed in on itself, even blocking didn't help.

So, choices now: 
  1. Leave it hidden in the project bag until I forget it exists (what I have been doing since Monday)
  2. Felt it to make it smaller--I know the mohair will felt, not sure how the other components will react
  3. Frog it--but it will take a while and may shred the mohair, it is very grabby.
  4. Find a cow or yak that needs a pretty cowl for spring, and gift it.
What do you think? Any other suggestions?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Homemade Compost Bin -- Free!

We now have not one, but two homemade compost bins for the garden. They are both made of shipping pallets--the first ones were left out for trash in front of a local business --yay for recycling!
 The others were found a few weeks later, again, free. This time they were listed on Freecyle.org, a site I adore for finding recycled and gently used items.

Here is the first bin, which was filled by Halloween and has been happily composting all winter. Remember all those acorns? They've been reduced to compost and are ready for the garden.
The cardboard on the side was deemed "not suitable" for composting by our in-house expert.
As with our homemade chicken brooder, I think it is an awesome idea, and Jeff did all the work. He used a hammer and nails to bang the four pallets together into a bin ( it doesn't have a bottom). It has wintered over perfectly, despite the all the snow we've had here.

Well, I will take credit for spotting the pallets and talking him into trash-picking them, something he up until then had refused to even consider. But the lure of a homemade compost bin --and hey, a free one at that--lured him in.

Bin #2 is about 10 feet from the first, and is made almost the same way, three sides are nailed together,  but the fourth is attached with hook-and-eye closures. This way it can be removed easily. I was eyeing this one for growing potatoes,  but we are filling it now with compostables (including the used litter from our new chickies) for next year.

Homemade compost bin 2 in progress.
The little seedlings we are caring for now are going to be well fed this spring! Now..off to figure out what to use for a homemade rain barrel!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

How to Make a Homemade Tutu : Tu-Tu-Tutorial

Make an adorable homemade tutu—perfect for dress-up, costume, or a special occasion. This technique allows you to quickly create an adorable tutu for your favorite person or pet, using a few simple supplies. Be careful—tutus are addictive! You may find yourself with one in every color!

Keep tutus short for infants, to make it easy to crawl.
Supplies:
(Makes 1 tutu for a baby, child, or pet---or even for yourself):
  • 2 Spools of Netting Tulle in your favorite color
  • 1” thick  waistband (non curling) elastic
Equipment:
  • Scissors
  • Needle and thread or sewing machine
  • Tape measure
Directions:
  1. Measure the waist of the person who will be wearing the tutu. Add one inch to this measurement.
  2. Cut a piece of elastic to match this measurement
  3. Overlap the ends of the elastic, forming a waistband, and sew to secure. You can do this by hand or machine.
  4. Decide how long you want your tutu to be. 12” is a good length for small children. Crawling babies and pets may need shorter lengths—about 8” would work
  5. Double the length measurement you want—so if you want 12” in finished length, you will need to cut 24” strips of tulle. 
  6. Use scissors to cut strips of tulle from the roll in your desired length. 
  7. Use a lark’s head knot* to attach each strip to the tutu. Place strips all the way around the waistband. The more strips you use, the fuller your tutu will be. 
  8. Your tutu is finished and ready to wear when you are happy with the look

*Larks head knot: This is a very easy knot to make—chances are, you already know how to make one, but didn’t know the name of it!
1. Fold the strip of tulle in half, forming a loop at the top, and letting the ends dangle.
2. Place the loop behind the elastic waistband, and pass the tulle ends through the loop.
3. Pull the ends to secure.
Project Notes:
  • Don’t limit yourself to a single color—you can use multiple colors to create a unique tutu for any occasion.
  • Decorate the waistband of your handmade tutu with silk flowers or pretty ribbon for a fresh new look.
Want more cute craft tutorials?
Puppy Tug Toy
Needlefelting tutorial
Homemade ChickenBrooder

Monday, March 7, 2011

The peeps are here!

Remember this homemade chicken brooder? Well, now it has its first residents!
New chicks in the homemade brooder box!


We picked up chicks yesterday--8 in all, of several different varieties. These ladies are for eggs, not roasting, and we have 2 each of Buff Orpingtons, Wyandottes, Silkies and Cinnamon Queens. We picked these up at Jersey Chickens (they have a great site, see it here).

One day old Silkie--rooster or hen? No one knows for sure...

Extreme closeup of one of the Cinnamon Queen hens
This adorable Wyandotte looks like a baby duck!
The Buff Orpingtons are about a week old, the rest are a day or two old. There is already a size difference between the week-olds and the newbies! I found the two larger chicks on top of the water and food containers today, a good 8" jump (not bad for critters that are about 2 inches tall!)
Super high jumping Buff Orpington chick

Chicks are addictive...when these guys outgrow the brooder, I am getting some guinea hen babies to fill it again!
I will update again as they grow...
Need to build a Chicken Coop? Click Here!


Sunday, February 27, 2011

Homemade Chicken Brooder

I just ordered a mix of super cute little chicks--all girls, all different breeds. They'll be here next week (there will be pictures, I promise)!
Since they will only be a day or so old, the peeps need a place to keep warm and grow a bit--enter the brooder. This one is made from a big Rubbermaid tub, with the top replaced with some hardware cloth:
Kitty-proof chicken brooder
 We may have been able to use chicken wire, except for one thing...Darby! Darby is our beautiful but evil long haired cat. She was a feral kitten, and still bites if you look at her the wrong way. Cleo is scared to death of her. Darby's specialty is birds--the prettier the better! She isn't interested in  mammals--but we get about a bird a day in the summer--bells, keeping her inside, placing bird feeders up high, nothing works, she just escapes and slips off the collar and goes hunting.

So, back to the chicks--a bunch of small, flightless, helpless puffs of fluff will be too tempting for her--even though we have no intention of letting her near them. Just in case, we made the brooder super strong (and by "we" I mean "Jeff":

Cutting the wire for the lid


Here's what he did to make this one:

Supplies:
Big plastic tub with locking lid
Wire hardware cloth with 3/8" openings
Plastic covered wire

Tools:
Wire snips
Small hand saw with skinny blade
Drill


Directions:
1. Remove the lid from the plastic bin. Use the drill to cut an opening for the saw.
2. Use the saw to cut out the recessed portion of the lid, leaving a 3" border of plastic all the way around.
3. Us the wire snips to cut the hardware cloth so it covers the opening entirely--it should overlap each edge by at least 2 inches.
4. Drill holes ever 3 inches or so around the lid.
5. Place the wire on top of the lid, and "sew" it into place with the wire. Twist the ends firmly to secure.

I am planning on sticking a treat Darby really likes inside, then putting the lid on--I want to see if she can defeat it!

We already have a heat lamp and feeders, so all we need now is the chicks!

Chicks outgrowing the brooder? It's time for a chicken coop! Click here to get started.

Click Here for easy DIY Chicken Coop Plans!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

MIP: Minions in Progress

So, the kids are in love with Despicable Me. We rented it from Red Box and ending up keeping it. Since we don't have TV, I hadn't seen any previews or anything. We've all been so sick recently, they have been watching this once a day --they are minion addicted!

Since this was out a while ago, I haven't had much luck finding them any little toys or minion-y things, so I am making some pocket sized minions!

Here is one little guy in progress. I am writing up the pattern as I go, in case you want to make your own, I'll post it to the blog with some step by step pictures as soon as it is ready.

MIP: Minion in Progress

He is knit in the round with floss, because I wanted him to be shiny--but the cotton and small diameter makes these go sloooooowly! I am adding eyes when all three are done--I think I will crochet the goggles and use googly eyes in the right size...more pix and free pattern later this week!

 You can see more fun projects by visiting Tami's Amis for WIP Wednesday!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

WIP Wednesday

THe never-ending kneesocks are moving along. Between being tall and having freakishly large feet, these are taking a while to complete! Here is sock #2, OTN:

So pleased with this yarn, love it!
The yarn is a Zauberball, the newer, almost sport weight version. I like this because it is working up quickly and had a LOT of yardage--I have never been able to get a pair of true knee socks out of a single ball of any other sock yarns!


Other WIPs: 
This cardi has moved to the "complete" pile, though I am not adding buttons--the holes are too low to fit me well. I will use a shawl pin or clasp instead. Finished pix up on FO Friday:
Done! See FO Friday this week for finished pix!
I worked a whole row on this pretty cowl...I ended up getting distracted by the minions I am knitting for a birthday gift (pix and pattern to come).
No progresss...but look, sparkles! And mushrooms!

You'll find more fun WIPs on Tami's Blog, she hosts a WIP Wednesday roundup!