YouTube Tuesday: Dan Zanes' Catch That Train

While Ollie doesn't watch much TV, he loves YouTube. This is one of my favorites.

Manual Focus

I have a really nice camera. For those of you keeping track out there, I have a Nikon D70s, a digital back SLR, fancy (to me) don't-let-anything-happen-to-it camera. One of the advantages of having a father-in-law who owns a camera store.

Until yesterday, I have had it in fully automatic point-and-shoot mode. I keep meaning to get around to reading the book (for it is not a manual, it is indeed a book) but, well, you know how life can get.

Many, many years ago, my parents taught me a little photography with their old Nikon (from the 60s?) that my dad had picked up while over in Vietnam. I knew about light meters and F-Stops, shutter speeds, and all of that. Then I went to high school, and college, and grad school, and got married, and had two kids, and somehow all that information got pushed back to the very reaches of my brain.

I'm trying to access it all now, and read the book, and take better pictures, and not put this beautiful machine into point and shoot mode. The first step was to turn off the auto-focus.

Bear (bare?) with me and enjoy the ride.

The Finished Product

I finished O's shirt today! I really like how it came out.

Luckily, so does he.

I found this great rocket fabric from Free Spirit at a local quilt shop and even lined the collar with the same coordinating fabric as the pocket.

And I am so in love with my (relatively) new snap press, I may have to devote a whole post to that.

Stay tuned...

An eieio Giveaway at Mommy Works Blog

Hop on over to Mommy Works and leave a comment to be entered into the giveaway of one of my Carnaby Street Reversible Roundabouts!

She has a bunch of great giveaways right now, as well as tips for making life as a working mom a little bit easier. Good Luck!

Spring Has Sprung

Even with temperatures as low as 26 degrees this morning, Spring has sprung. By lunch it was about 50. We pulled the easel outside while O slept and E had her first sundrenched painting session of the season.

The Collared Shirt

I finally got my hands on Heather Ross's Weekend Sewing last weekend and was able to flip through it in person. The moment I hit to this page I knew I had to bring it home.

I have been searching for a good pattern for a boy's short sleeved collared shirt. More bowling, less church. This is, at least, a starting point.

I found some great fabric at the shop where I bought the book and am excited to be starting the foundations of O's summer wardrobe. Stay tuned!

Finally Finished - The County Fair Nightgown

So I've been working on these matching nightgowns since way back here. And they are finally done. Truth be told, I tried to get O to model the smaller one so you could see both but he would have nothing to do with it.

It was fun to sew something different, experimenting more with the peasant style top. I'm looking forward to trying some other new styles out over the next couple weeks. My fabric stash is slowly filling out with fabric for summer wardrobes for the kids.

When all is said and done, I'm really happy with these and am looking forward to tweaking the design and experimenting with sleeve lengths to come up with some fun shirts and dresses for E. She has already asked for "three more nightgowns, please". Ahhh... my little clotheshorse who always has an idea in her head of exactly. what. she. wants.

Happy Birthday to The Dad!

At The Dad's request, I conjured up three different kinds of cupcakes for his party yesterday. Oh so yummy. And really, I thoroughly enjoyed the quiet alone time in the kitchen.

The cupcakes: Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese frosting, Lemon with a Lemon glaze, and Black Bottom (dark chocolate with a cream cheese and chocolate chip filling) with Butter Cream frosting and a chocolate button on top.

Cupcakes are so much fun to put together and to display. I recently discovered Bake It Pretty and stocked up on some fun papers and toppers. The Dad's had Tilt-A-Whirl cups and pinwheels on top. A little nod to the alternative energy field he works in.

Happy Birthday!

Crazy Weekend

We are through Part 1 of our crazy weekend. At 6:30 this morning we started setting up for a yard sale. Luckily we've learned over the years that traffic peters out after noon so it only took up the morning, running from 8am until about 1230. Not only did we clear out a ton of stuff, we also made a little money which is always a nice surprise.

Tomorrow we kick off 'Birthday Season' in our house with a little 'Cupcakes and Coffee' get-together for the The Dad (whose real birthday is Monday). His day will be followed by our Anniversary, O's Birthday, and Easter all within 5 days of eachother in April and then E's birthday in May. Then we will stop, breathe a sigh of relief and appreciation, and get ready for summer.

Because I don't have enough to do around here, (just kidding), I've joined a new local endeavor called PhillyMade - A networking group of local artists and crafters. The group has morphed out of the Philly Etsy Team and is kicking off with a new blog called Philly Makes (Philly Made was taken).

The focus of the blog is a Thing-A-Week from group members - meaning we each post one newly made item each week. There's a motivator for you. It's easy to flake out on my own blog for a little while, but this is a group of people I have yet to meet so I need to hold up my end of the bargain! You can see my first post on the County Fair Nightgowns I'm working on here.

The Auction Skirt

E's pre-school had an event this weekend with a silent auction. We auctioned off this dress and a cute little skirt made out of my favorite-fabric-combo-of-the-moment, Alexander Henry's Spotted Owl and Mille Fleur.

How great that the mom of a classmate won the skirt on Saturday. Even better to see the little girl in it at a birthday party yesterday afternoon. And just the best to see her in it again at school this morning and hear that she doesn't want to take it off. So much fun.

Discovering Pippi

I found out over here that there is a new edition of Pippi Longstocking out and promptly put in a request to our local library.

While picking it up, totally by coincidence, E picked out a Pippi Longstocking cartoon (that I can't find anywhere online to link to!) from 1997. Pippi's Adventures on the South Seas starring (of all people) Aileen Quinn from Annie as the voice of Pippi.

I love the look of the new book - a big chunky hardcover with a blend of drawing, cut paper, and what even looks like cut fabric. The book is illustrated by Lauren Child of Charlie and Lola fame and is worth checking out for the art alone.

E, always eager to try on new characters, is enamored. How could I not dig up some pipe cleaners to give her Pippi braids this morning! Next up from my studio (after a dress order, the matching nightgowns, and a couple silent auction items) is a Pippi dress. Blue with yellow pockets, of course. Stay tuned.

A Day at the (Snow) Beach

With a gorgeously sunny day yesterday and still 6" of snow on the ground, I unleashed my children out into the yard. O came running back to me - "Can you open the sandbox?"

Who needs a sandbox when you've got a yard full of snow? The kids pulled out their sand toys - buckets, shovels of all sizes, and a wheelbarrow and played in the snow for an hour and a half. Filling, dumping, piling, transporting.

And to think some people might call me lazy for never putting away the summer toys when the seasons changed...

A Snowy Morning

Another snow day when I was really watching for Spring. I just couldn't bring myself to take the kids outside until after lunch. So, instead:

A favorite book of The Dad's from his childhood that I finally scored on eBay.

Yummy oatmeal cranberry scones - made yummier when I accidently jumped ahead reading the directions and added 1 1/4 cups of dried cranberries instead of 1/2 cup (it called for 1 1/4 cups of oats).

My first attempt at goat cheese popovers. These will definitely be made again!

And a floor full of vintage Fisher Price Little People playsets waiting to be sold.

All before 11 AM.


I have become a bit of a chocolate snob over the last couple years, much preferring Green and Black's to your standard grocery store (think Snickers or Hershey's) candy bar.

A year ago, some friends from NYC came to visit and brought us our first box of boutique chocolates. I was fascinated by the intricate art printed on each piece and the little fold out paper describing each flavor, not to mention the incredibly rich taste!

The Dad took E up to New York yesterday to see Mary Poppins on Broadway with her grandmother and brought me home these. My first taste of Jacques Torres was impressive. And I am proud to say that there has only been one taste so far. These are chocolates to be savored - made easier by the fact that they are almost too pretty to eat. Yum.