Sunday, January 31, 2010

My Great Idea, 12 months of homemade owl apparel

In November, I decided that I'd make one article of clothing each month for a year for Hazel, out of OWL fabric!!!!!!!! I was inspired after searching the thousands of fabric listings on etsy. I'm behind on the posts, but have kept up with my work, I have the outfits for November, December, and January.

HERE THEY ARE!!!!!!!!!!!

NOVEMBER: I made this with a portabellopixie pattern. It's the first kid's clothing pattern I've used. It was a nice surprise to find the pattern was equipped with three other designs. I have already made seven dresses with this pattern. This was H's second b-day dress and my first time working with tulle.

DECEMBER: Nana gave H a pair of cute ruffle bottom pants for her bday, so of course, I had to try to make my own, not bad for no pattern.

JANUARY: I used a bananafana pattern (tea party twirl). I have to admit, at first I found the directions confusing and I thought the dress wasn't going to be that cute, but in the end, I LOVE the dress and it was EASY to make. Yes, I will be making more!

Stay tuned for February's work of art.

Yummy filled cupcakes

I saw a post for these cupcakes, that looked so good, I just had to try them. Lately I've been realizing my tendency to make the same things over and over again. I decided this year, my new thing to try would be different types of frosting and cupcake recipes. Here's my first, I found it on skiptomylou's blog. I cut the filling recipe in half, I used:

1/6 cup powdered sugar (i eyeballed it)
3.5 oz fluff (eyeball)
pinch salt (could do without it, i thought it wasn't necessary, but it's not my recipe)
1/2 TBSP water
1/4 cup butter

This was my first time making filled cupcakes. I used a funfetti mix I got on sale after Christmas, forgot to add the sprinkles to the mix and the kids were horrified, so I added them to the top of the dough in the oven. I had a bit of a rough time, getting the filling into my decorator (I don't have a bag)- so that was a tad messy, but yummy to lick off my fingers. Here's what they looked like before the frosting:

You can see the half batch of filling made it through the 20 cupcakes, I'll have to do a cross section to tell for sure.

Here's a cross section:

The final product:

Guess who got to lick the frosting bowl?

If you want to make "delicioumess" (as Owen said) cupcakes, you should try these!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

R is for Reindeer

The past week, we have been studying about reindeer. With Nathaniel, we have done an activity, where he had to use the internet to answer questions about reindeer and a labeling activity where he had to label the reindeer and answer questions (this I found at enchanted learning). We also used Draw Write Now (a series that teaches drawing techniques and then after you draw the picture, it has a factual sentence about it for you to copy down, so you practice your handwriting too) to draw a reindeer. To finish off our session on reindeer, we made reindeer cookies (and gingerbread too- since we didn't have time before Christmas). The kids had fun and the cookies were yummy. Which one do you like best?

The younger kids have been studying the letter R, for reindeer, so next week, we will be doing more work with the letter R and if I get my act together, there will be a stuffed animal R, the first in a series of 26 letters.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Bedroom decorations FINALLY!

Last weekend, when I was supposed to be cleaning up and finishing unpacking, I finally decided to put up the wallies I bought for Hazel LAST SUMMER! So, technically it was cleaning up because they've been sitting on my bedroom floor collecting dust since August. There is no creativity on my part for this scene, I just followed the example on the package, but I am quite pleased with the results. All the kids have commented how nice it looks. I decided after 3 years of living here, that we need to change how white and unpersonalized our bedrooms are, if we can't paint, I guess the wallies will have to do. They are quite easy to use and come off easily (for whenever we have to move). Thank you Target for these cute little owls! Now, if I can finish unpacking from this trip, I'll be able to start that owl quilt I've been meaning to make for Hazel.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

To follow the rules or not?

This is something the Japanese society as a whole needs to decide. For the most part, this is the most orderly, law abiding place I have ever been or heard of. That is, except when it comes to a few things, such as walking down the aisles at Costco or going up and down steps at the train station. I can point out these two exceptions with great experience, because go to Costco about once a month to fulfill my American food cravings and I ride the train frequently with my kids.
I was at Costco today, which prompted me to write about this. There are so many free samples there, it is incredible, when people see them, they stop their cart whereever they are, they don't look back to see if someone's behind them, they just stop and take their sweet little time eating. If they are shopping with a friend, they just walk side by side, nevermind the twice than normal size shopping cart at this store than any other place in Japan, they must think the wider aisles are allowing accomodation for the side by side Sunday stroll pace. It is so annoying because if I was in America, I'd be inclined to ram them with my cart, or ask them to move, but here in Japan, I feel compelled to be ultra polite and conform to japanese mannerisms (they're too nice to get mad at). I don't have road rage here, it's cart rage.

At the train station, there are actually arrows painted on the steps indicating the up or down direction. Here comes me, with my double stroller, usually with at least one kid in it and a bag hanging off the side, and two or three little ones following closely behind. Yes, I am walking on the side the arrows indicate to go up, and the barrage of people getting off the train comes in all directions, no one adhering to the arrows. I in the end either have to stop and wait, teetering stroller in hand, or risk getting pushed down the steps. This goes the same for sidewalks, you have no right or wrong side of the side walk and I find it annoying, especially in a city of over a million people.

Yes, you can tell this post was instigated by the cart rage I felt today at Costco. If I'm brave enough, next time, I'll bring my camera and take a picture of the jam up on aisle ten where they are giving out free samples of RAISINS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!