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Friday, July 29, 2011

Party Decor for Next to Nothing

One of our little men turned 3 this past Monday!
Here are some of the decorations made from 3 old t-shirts, cardboard (out of the dumpster), and a recycled book, and a black marker:
Clifford, welcoming people to the party!
 pom poms (inspired by this link)!
 pom poms, other garland made from tying t-shirt strands together!
 Different garland made by sewing paper shapes and t-shirt scraps together!
 A simple sign.  Mr. S wanted the theme to be "red cake," hence the cake.  
Just funny - cooling the watermelon in the tub because it was too big for the refrigerator:
 Treat bags: sewn together one way, filled with candy and then sewn together with a different fold.  Very easy!
A good reminder that decoration don't have to be expensive...especially for kids. In fact, this allowed me to be much more personal for Mr. S...and his Red Cake Party!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Stitched Hands

I finally finished stitching our family hands. 
Maybe I'll do this once every 2 years.
Notice my not-so-great-quality fabric.  I've decided it adds class!
Next step: whether to frame or staple onto a canvas.

My post below has some pics of our beautiful new city.  

Our New City

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Party Inspiration

We have a Birthday coming!!  Clifford will be the main character.  Most everything will be handmade out of an old cardboard box we found out by the trash...wait until you see pics.  It's really getting out of control.  I think I have most everything planned, but I decided to double check for last minute ideas.
I'm working on a different type of personalized Clifford pillow case, but this may look more professional:
The one request for a cake was that it would be red.  I love this placemat to add a little flare to the red-only cake that "I hope we don't ruin since it seems so easy!":
And, the favors.  We're a little limited here, but I was thinking something like this:
or, this for the adults (only in Clifford theme, of course):
Happy 3rd Birthday, Mr. S!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

DIY Beanbag Toss

In preparation for Mr. S's big day next week, we are starting to work on some activities.  Tonight, it was beanbag toss time!  I used an old box and two sleeves to make this project.  I used a sewing machine, but you could even do this by hand.
1.  Get the two sleeves:
 2. Trace Circles:
 3. Sew just inside the traced line.  Since this was a jersey fabric, it was easier to sew first and then cut instead of cutting first.  Remember to leave a small opening to add the "beans":
4. Here are the bags all cut out:
 5.  Bad picture, but this is a make-your-own funnel out of old paper and I'm pouring small pasta (all we had) into the bag.  About 2/3 full:
 6.  Sew up small opening:
 7.  Done with bags!:
 8. Find an old box or sheet of cardboard.  It could even be a small box because you could set this game on a table:
 9.  Cut 3 circles (BE CAREFUL).  We chose three different sizes and used a utility knife:
 10.  Decorate it, if you want -- different points depending on which circle, etc!!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Ode to Figs

This is part 1, in a (at least 2) multi-part series.
We are having the opportunity to eat several foods that are...well, a little foreign.  This one isn't super crazy, it's just that I've never seen fresh figs at the store to eat.  Our little veg/fruit stand couple were so excited when we asked what this new fruit was.  Of course, their answer was something we didn't understand, but they threw 2 in our bag to try for free.  We had someone show us how to eat them.  SO GOOD!!!
Apparently, these guys are more popular than I thought:
love this!
I need to remember to smell them next time we are at the stand.   This looks amazing!
We were given green ones, the purple figs are coming later this season.
This is it!  And this shop actually made jam...mmm!
AND (not pictured), my favorite, Fig Newtons!!
Next week's fruit: Boysenberry!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Thrifting by the Kilo

Life just changed.

A few days ago, a friend took us (without kids) to the Bazaar/Market/Flea Market to look at some second hand stores.  We felt like the second hand stores we had been in were over-priced and that there had to be a lower-end place to get some cheap fabric/craft items (old clothes).  

So, we set out.  At this market, we found some used t-shirts for $10.  This still seemed high.  Were not completely sure what drives pricing here -- it could be out of desperation, it could be out of what a boss is telling them to price it at, it could be out of just not knowing how much could really be sold.  Anyway, we started on a rabbit trail of finding out who bought from who, etc.  Not only were we told that these clothes were coming from America's Goodwill, etc, but also many other places around the world. 

We were directed to a building about a mile away.  One of the store owners had told us that this is where she got her clothes from.  This large room was empty except for 50 huge bags of clothes and shoes.  This store was representing clothes from Sweden.  Each bag weighed 20 kilo (times that by 2.2 and you get the pounds = 44lbs?).  Each kilo cost about $12...making each bag approx. $220.  So...I get the desperation, these people have put a lot of $$ into their merchandise.  With the clothes pre-bagged, I still wanted to get a closer look...AND, I didn't want 44 lbs. of random clothes in our matter how big the crafting itch!  

The next store was similar to the first, only from another European country.  The third place was different.  It was a huge concrete room with piles and piles of individual clothes.  These clothes were from France.  Here, depending on the pile, some clothes were $10/kilo, some $2/kilo, etc.  Of course, we went for the $2/kilo!  I got the red t-shirts I needed for some decorations I'm working on.  Plus, some fabric and trim!!  Who would have thought?! 

 Overall, great experience, great scouting trip!  

Here's a pic of the good's:

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

2 Really Helpful Blogs

There are 2 blogs that have been really interesting/helpful.   The fact that we live in another country,  need some good cheap meals, and enjoy creative thinking.

The first blog is about cooking on a dime.  I've only tried a few of these recipes, but these ideas have spurred on dinner once or twice.  She seems to be right-on and I can get a lot of the ingredients here, which, really helps!
So, here's Budget Bytes!

The second one is about a woman who lived overseas and brought only 16 yards of fabric. She sounds like an extreme crafter (which I almost am!) and her story was really interesting.  I've just read a handful of the most recent posts, but I love the idea behind her 16 yards.  I brought less than one and have been thinking of a solution.
So, here's Sewing in No Man's Land!
She has some really cute patterns that are totally free, especially cute for kids!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

In Progress...

Life progress!

1.  Language this week was tough.  Wednesday was my pit.  Friday was our second test.  Nothing would go into my mind on Wednesday, it was too full!  On Friday, when our teacher handed us the four-page test, I nearly...umm...anyway...!   The week was balanced out with our language teacher (who speaks English fluently) having two mix-ups.  Imagine saying the following words with the "ch" as the "ch" in "children"... chaos and chemistry. Ah ha ha ha !!  That lightened the mood a little.

2.  Mr. S has a 3rd b-day at the end of the month.  I need to make a cake by scratch.  He wants a red cake.  The theme is "cake"...that's it.  What a blessing!  But, how on earth do you make a cake by scratch?!  I need to find some pans.  Anyway, I found a huge piece of cardboard down by the trash and I'm going to draw a huge Clifford on it saying, "Happy Birthday!"  So, along with the pans, I'm on the hunt for a huge black marker!

3.  I am working on the apt.  It needs some "personal touches"!  I have a cove area that I'm organizing. has provided a ton of inspiration and that's been fun.  Our poor table...we can't keep a tablecloth clean for a single meal!  So, sometimes it goes without anything.  I'm learning about the fabric here, but it's not exactly like the Hobby Lobby selection.  I can't believe how much I love looking at fabric.  My goal this week is to finish a table runner and bring it to the lady that sold me the fabric.  I bought 1 meter and she kept repeating my order as if I was crazy to not buy more.  So, I'm going to bring her the project and show her why I only needed one meter (and one more person to practice language on!)

This is probably enough for now!  I need to get going on some of these projects while Mr. T naps!

Dessert for the 4th...

I needed some inspiration!
from i am baker, found on Pinterest.                                                                                                                                            
cupcakes from Martha Stewart
A nice gift idea from etsy

We may not be in the country to celebrate, but we are thankful for our freedom. 
Ultimately, thankful for our Complete Freedom. 
Happy 4th!