Thursday, June 15, 2017

Meals in the Mail - Balsamic Strawberries Recipe

I'm a little giddy that the last couple of weeks have been more of a "normal" work schedule for me, which means that I can spend some time crafting at night after the kids go to bed (especially since Greg has been engrossed in playing The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild).

One of the things I tackled was making this recipe for balsamic strawberries, which I first blogged about years ago after we tried out a recipe we found online (those are sometimes hit-or-miss, but in this case, hit): Balsamic Strawberries.

I'm mailing this in for Naomi Bulger's Meals in the Mail project, where she is collecting snail mail recipes to compile a recipe book.

Meals in the Mail - Balsamic Strawberries Recipe | shirley shirley bo birley Blog

Taking a piece of watercolor paper, I added some warm watercolors for the background. After letting that dry, I die cut flower silhouettes from black cardstock to adhere to the bottom. I stamped the title with alphabet stamps, as well as the bullets, and then wrote the recipe out by hand.

I was pleased with the finished product! Now I just have to get myself over to the post office to mail it in.


SUPPLIES:

Paper: Bazzill Basics Paper black cardstock; watercolor paper
Stamps: Honey Bee Stamps Brush Grunge Alpha; Mama Elephant Bella Letters
Tools: Papertrey Ink Larger Than Life Die; MISTI
Ink: Tsukineko Memento Tuxedo Black ink; Zig Kuretake Gansai Tambi 36 Color Set
Other: Sharpie fine point black pen

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Mama Elephant Trifecta Background Birthday Card

I had a chance last week to do a couple of quick birthday cards, one of which I used for a birthday party we went to for Evelyn's friend.

The card design was the same for both, but in different color schemes. I used Mama Elephant's Trifecta set to stamp a background in three coordinating ink colors, then added a die cut "happy," along with a die cut brush stroke stamped with "birthday." It felt a little bare still, so I added a few sequins to the cards.

Mama Elephant Trifecta Background Birthday Card | shirley shirley bo birley Blog | cardmaking, Mama Elephant, Papertrey Ink, Teresa Collins, Pinkfresh Studio
Mama Elephant Trifecta Background Birthday Card | shirley shirley bo birley Blog | cardmaking, Mama Elephant, Papertrey Ink, Teresa Collins, Pinkfresh Studio
Mama Elephant Trifecta Background Birthday Card | shirley shirley bo birley Blog | cardmaking, Mama Elephant, Papertrey Ink, Teresa Collins, Pinkfresh Studio
Mama Elephant Trifecta Background Birthday Card | shirley shirley bo birley Blog | cardmaking, Mama Elephant, Papertrey Ink, Teresa Collins, Pinkfresh Studio


SUPPLIES:

Paper: Bazzill Basics Paper
Embellishments: Teresa Collins sequins
Stamps: Mama Elephant Trifecta;
Tools: Mama Elephant Creative Cuts Happy Script die; Pinkfresh Studio brush stroke die
Ink: Papertrey Ink dye ink in Lavender Moon, Sweet Blush, Melon Berry, Terracotta Tile, Summer Sunrise, Lemon Tart; Tsukineko Memento Tuxedo Black ink

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Pre-Smocked Girl's Dress with Adjustable Straps

A while ago, Evelyn picked out a Frozen "Sisterly Love" pre-smocked fabric at Joann. I sewed up the dress seam not too long after that, but what it really needed was some straps to keep the dress up (at an appropriate neckline, that is).

I also meant to do a French seam, but in my haste to sew the dress, I forgot about doing that and just used a zig-zag stitch with the right sides together. But, it's held up fine in the wash and dry cycles in spite of that, which is really what matters most.

I finally had a chance to spend some time finishing (or in some cases, fixing) little projects that accumulated while I was busy with work over the last several months, so I not only added some grosgrain ribbon to the front of the dress, I also added a couple of hidden grosgrain loops in the back so that Evie had the option of wearing the dress a few different ways.

Finished dress

Pre-Smocked Girl's Dress with Adjustable Straps | shirley shirley bo birley Blog

Loops added in the back

Pre-Smocked Girl's Dress with Adjustable Straps | shirley shirley bo birley Blog

Different ways to wear the straps

Pre-Smocked Girl's Dress with Adjustable Straps | shirley shirley bo birley Blog

Tips

  • Using a serger is probably the most professional-looking to sew the dress seam. A French seam will also give a cleaner finish. Or, git-r-done by just using a zig zag stitch with right sides together. There are plenty of Pinterest tutorials with more details on how much pre-smocked fabric to get, such as this one for Easy Summer Sun Dress by Olives and Okra.
  • I measured about 30 inches for the length of the grosgrain to sew to the front of the dress. It was probably on the long side, but I felt like that was safer than too short.
  • On this particular pre-smocked fabric, the thread color used by the manufacturer to serge the selvedges was different than the elastic color for the shirring. Fortunately, I had thread colors already on hand from previous projects that were close to both, so I used close-to-matching thread colors to sew the grosgrain ribbon to the selvedge versus the shirring. This helped any imperfections (and they are there) blend in better so it is harder to tell.
  • I eyeballed the length of the grosgrain loops on the back. My goal was to make sure I had enough ribbon to stitch over it twice (including folding the raw edges under), have enough loop that the ends of the front ribbons would easily slide through, and when not used, have the loops be hidden.

Also, all those poses from Evelyn? Didn't come from me, either by example or coaching. It's kind of hilarious to me that she just does all those. I actually had to rein in some crazy posing that she was trying to do, but I'm glad that she at least likes to pose for the camera and be in pictures!

Monday, June 5, 2017

Fountain Hills Great Fair 2017

Although it's been gradually improving, I've often felt that the arts and crafts scene in the Phoenix metro area wasn't as good as, say, the Bay area, which we've checked out on the occasions that we've visited Greg's relatives there.

In recent years, there's been quite the pick-up in local art/handmade/vintage markets though, and I'm not complaining!

The Fountain Hills Great Fair of Fine Arts & Crafts, however, has been around for over 30 years, yet this is the first year that we've checked it out. Shame shame.

The fair was near the end of February and it was pretty big. Even with Parker though, we covered most of it, but I will say that I regret not having taken a stroller with us because we might have been able to cover all of it if we didn't have to carry him or walk at his pace. (This prompted a subsequent purchase of a wagon that we hope will replace a stroller in the roll-kids-around department).

Fountain Hills Great Fair 2017 | shirley shirley bo birley Blog
Fountain Hills Great Fair 2017 | shirley shirley bo birley Blog
Fountain Hills Great Fair 2017 | shirley shirley bo birley Blog
Fountain Hills Great Fair 2017 | shirley shirley bo birley Blog
Fountain Hills Great Fair 2017 | shirley shirley bo birley Blog

While there, we picked up a couple of laser-cut wooden name frames for Evelyn and Parker, made to fit wallet-size photos.

Fountain Hills Great Fair 2017 | shirley shirley bo birley Blog

The vendor is a small business called Easy Times, out of South Dakota. I've tried, to no avail, to find an online presence for them, but they don't seem to have one. Weird given this day and age!

Parker doesn't have a photo yet because we haven't purchased any daycare photos for him. I'll probably put one of him in from our last family photo shoot (2016 Family Pictures). His daycare photos so far have been comprised of blank stares or unflattering other faces. (Evie's smile for her kindergarten photo is meh as well, since I feel like it could be more natural-looking, but I didn't want to pass up school portraits).

Next year's fair is already scheduled for February 23-25 and I'd like to check it out again!

Monday, May 29, 2017

Washington, DC Weekend and Wedding - Sights

On my trip to Washington, DC last month with my mom and brother to attend my cousin's wedding, we did a little sightseeing the day before and after the wedding. There's much to see in DC, and I feel like we only scratched the surface in the little bit of time that we had, but we did hit up several of the Smithsonian Museums on the National Mall.

(I also posted about our Washington, DC lodging and dining).

Greg and I also spent a weekend in DC ten years ago, and we visited some other major landmarks then (Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, Holocaust Museum), so I didn't necessarily feel the need to re-visit those sights again.

SMITHSONIAN CASTLE

On our first full day in DC, we started with the Smithsonian Castle, which has the visitor center. There's some small-ish exhibits in the visitor center, but I mostly liked the architecture of the historic building

Washington, DC Weekend and Wedding - Sights | shirley shirley bo birley Blog

There was also a kiosk where you could take a picture of yourself and make it into a photo mosaic. (It was really a ploy to collect email addresses, but that's okay, I wanted the photo mosaic!)

Washington, DC Weekend and Wedding - Sights | shirley shirley bo birley Blog

SMITHSONIAN SACKLER GALLERY OF ASIAN ART

The Sackler Gallery of Asian Art was right next to the Smithsonian Castle (the Freer Gallery, also Asian art, was closed for renovations). I figured since it's Asian, and I'm Asian, it was good for a short visit right before lunch on Friday, heh. My favorite here was the Chinamania exhibit with the display of white china. There was also an adjacent display of brown china, but the white china was more striking.

There was also a Peacock Room REMIX exhibit that was interesting, but it was very dark, so I didn't take any pictures of it. It is a take on the real Peacock Room.

Washington, DC Weekend and Wedding - Sights | shirley shirley bo birley Blog
Washington, DC Weekend and Wedding - Sights | shirley shirley bo birley Blog
Washington, DC Weekend and Wedding - Sights | shirley shirley bo birley Blog

SMITHSONIAN NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM

After lunch on Friday, we took my mom back to the Airbnb since she wasn't that interested in more sightseeing. After that, my brother and I took the Metro back to the National Mall so that we could visit the Natural History Museum. The Natural History Museum was (unsurprisingly) much more crowded than the Asian art gallery. We poked around most of the exhibits, including the Hope Diamond.

This was from the Objects of Wonder exhibit:

Washington, DC Weekend and Wedding - Sights | shirley shirley bo birley Blog

While walking across the mall from the museum to the Metro station, I also took a couple of quick pictures of the US Capitol and the Washington Monument. (It was actually pretty windy and chilly that day - like, Phoenix winter chilly).

Washington, DC Weekend and Wedding - Sights | shirley shirley bo birley Blog
Washington, DC Weekend and Wedding - Sights | shirley shirley bo birley Blog

SMITHSONIAN AMERICAN HISTORY MUSEUM

On Sunday before the family lunch at Queen Amannisa, we visited the American History Museum. I mostly wanted to see the Star-Spangled Banner (THE Star-Spangled Banner! But no photography allowed of the actual flag.)

Washington, DC Weekend and Wedding - Sights | shirley shirley bo birley Blog

We also saw the Numismatic Collection, an old Singer sewing machine, Dorothy's shoes, and other exhibits.

Washington, DC Weekend and Wedding - Sights | shirley shirley bo birley Blog
Washington, DC Weekend and Wedding - Sights | shirley shirley bo birley Blog

SMITHSONIAN POSTAL MUSEUM

Before this trip, I didn't realize there was a postal museum. But this was right up the alley of this snail mail fan. It is also right next to Union Station, so we visited this the day we flew back, since Kevin was taking a bus back to NYC out of Union Station anyway.

We poked around the exhibits. Sent some postcards (they were free and the museum has special cancellations!). Bought some grab bags of stamps from the gift shop (I thought it would be fun with Evie). And, there was also a table of stamps where they let you pick and keep some stamps! It was probably aimed at kids, but actually, I was NOT the oldest person there. There was an elderly man at the table, a rather serious hobby stamp collector, just chillin'. I asked him how to separate the newer sticker-like stamps from the paper, because the usual method of soaking in water doesn't work like with older stamps - he didn't know either, ha ha.

Washington, DC Weekend and Wedding - Sights | shirley shirley bo birley Blog

Washington, DC Weekend and Wedding - Sights | shirley shirley bo birley Blog

Washington, DC Weekend and Wedding - Sights | shirley shirley bo birley Blog

EASTERN MARKET AND FLEA MARKET

The Airbnb was only a few blocks from Eastern Market, which is open on Sundays, so we made a point of stopping by to poke around. I didn't take any pictures of that, but here is a little yin-yang I saw embedded in the sidewalk of the neighborhood:

Washington, DC Weekend and Wedding - Sights | shirley shirley bo birley Blog

SOUTHEAST NEIGHBORHOOD LIBRARY

On the Saturday of my cousin's wedding, my brother and I were going to hit up the Museum of American History before the wedding (which started at 2:00). We were on our way to the Eastern Market metro station when we passed by the Southeast Neighborhood Library, where they were having a book sale.

We thought we'd stop in for a few minutes to poke around, but ended up spending most of our time at the book sale. There was a decent selection of books and they were cheap - $1 each! The sale was in the basement of the library. If we had more time and weren't carrying a bunch of books, I might have checked out the library itself - the building looked historic!

CHERRY BLOSSOMS

We didn't specifically look for cherry blossoms, and didn't attend any of the festivities either, but we did take some pictures of cherry blossoms if we happened to pass them. I'm not really sure if these are cherry blossoms, but it was nonetheless a pretty tree we passed walking in the neighborhood.

Washington, DC Weekend and Wedding - Sights | shirley shirley bo birley Blog

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