Thursday, October 25, 2012

big boy room

I decided since we're having another boy I didn't need to do much to the nursery and we could just put Leo in a new big boy room, so I've been working on a robot themed room for a while now and we did the big reveal at his party.  since we mostly got him clothes (with the exception of a tricycle from Matt) his room was his big gift.
I made a silver velvet robot with doll joint arms, legs, and head.  I added buttons, safety eyes, and did some embroidery.  I wasn't too confident how it'd come out when I was making the pattern, but I was happy with it in the end.
I found a loft bed that's not quite as high as a bunk bed, so we felt good about him being able to sleep in it, especially since he's recently become really good at climbing the ladders to the big slides at the park that are about twice as tall.  I worried most of the first night he was going to try to climb down the ladder in the middle of the night and fall, but he did good.  he did get himself down the next morning and I found him playing with his toys, so I guess he made it down okay!
I used the flat sheets that I didn't use on his bed to make curtains with velcro tabs to put around the bottom of the bed to make a tent that hides his new toy box (craigslist - $35!) and bean bag arm chair.

I put his old curtains (two flat twin sheets with clip on rings) in his new windows, and I found a gear rug at Home Depot for $7 for the floor.
I hung a drip pan from his wall to use with the gear magnets he got at his last birthday and I put a Magna Doodle on the wall with command velcro strips.
I put about 300 glow in the dark stars all over his ceiling and walls. when the room is dark it's really cool, but right now it kinda scares him to be in the dark so we keep a nightlight on.  maybe one day he'll enjoy them!
we hung floating shelves, a collection of water guns I painted, a Red Ranger Ray Gun, and I added some wall decals of planets to fill in blank spots on the walls around the stars.  I also put a frisbee around the smoke detector to "dress it up".  the plastic had yellowed and looked crummy, but with the ring of green around it it's not as noticeably different in color from the ceiling.
I made a quilt from some robot fabric and a fuzzy blanket with batting in the middle.  I did a stair step design around the blocks to give it a patchwork look without having to outline each square.  I like how the back came out :)  I dropped my feed dogs for the first time and did the lines "free motion" - it was easier than shifting and turning the whole quilt every 4 inches, which is what I did for the first few rows and realized it wasn't going to work the more bulk I got into.
I searched all over for a pet net, but I guess they don't make them anymore :( so I made one from a mesh laundry bag I got from the Dollar Tree and leftover robot fabric that I made into bias tape.  I cut 2 triangles (I thought double the fabric would be sturdier) to fit in my corner and finished the edges with the bias tape, added some eyelets and screwed it into the wall.
I think I like the paint most of all - it's a metallic silver from Martha Stewart.  it was awful to put on, but came out looking really cool.  Matt said we won't use it again (he's the one who painted) so if I decide to go metallic anywhere else in the house I'm on my own!  I think it'll be a color that will grow with Leo, and the room's not too totally robotted out so if he needs a change later on we don't have to re-do everything.
all-in-all I'm happy with it and maybe one day when he starts verbalizing his opinions we'll find out what he thinks of it! ;)

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Leo's robot party

we had Leo's birthday party this past weekend since we'll be out of town on his actual birthday.  I did a robot/space theme to go with his new room decor.
I made the invitations with inspiration from a bunch of different invitations I saw online.  I layered the backgrounds, text, and images in my Silhouette program and printed it front and back on card stock, cut out the gears and robot for the front and added foam to the backs to raise them a bit.
I put a little bit of Glossy Accents on the robot's eye and other spots to give it more dimension.
I sandwiched foil between clear contact paper and cut out some gears on my Silhouette.  I was worried how they'd do, but they came out just fine.  I strung them up with fishing line and hung them above the bar.
I made a red velvet cake to look like a robot, with doughnut arms and legs and orange Sno Ball feet.  it didn't come out like I was hoping and kept sliding, but it tasted really good.  I reinforced the back with a wall of Rice Krispie treats I made from this recipe and that kept it from falling over.  I bought the pre-made snacks and put the caramel on top, but the caramel didn't soak in like it was supposed to (maybe because they were store bought?), so I heated it all up in the oven and mixed at altogether and reshaped the treats.  I was going to dip them in chocolate, but I already had banana bread and red velvet cake pops that I dipped in chocolate, so I left them as is.
I made a robot pinata from a cereal box.  I opened up the box completely and turned it inside out so it was a solid color and I didn't have to cover up the printing.  I cut off the top flaps and covered the opening with two layers of tissue so it'd have a real good weak spot and didn't take forever to break open!  I layered fringed tissue strips all over the box, added arms and legs and some print outs I drew up, put a wire on the top to hang it with, and made sure to leave an opening to fill it with candy and some toys.
I got a small tank of helium and was able to put silver and colored balloons around the house.  I'm glad I did because that was Leo's favorite part - we had a hard time getting him away from the balloons to open gifts!
for the favors I printed off cards to fold in half and staple to the top of some clear bags filled with "sweet bytes" for the ride home after the party.  I couldn't decide on what to put in them for a while, but finally decided on Butter Pecan Meringues from World Market.  I put them in a wagon Leo had that I filled with tissue paper and candy.  this year I remembered to send everyone home with one!
when I was looking for simple favor ideas I came across a bag topper someone did that said "Domo Arigato" and thought that would be too cute for thank you cards!
I printed the front and back on card stock the same way I did the invitations and used some of the Glossy Accents again for the robot's eyes on the front.
I feel like I've been planning this for a long time, but I still didn't get to all the projects I wanted to do.  I'm happy with how it turned out anyway, and glad it's time to move onto something else!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

stringing beads

I've been eyeing bead spinners online for a little while now.  I wanted the kind that was wood and just spins on a post without a battery but I didn't want to spend a whole lot on it - I don't understand why they get so expensive for something so simple!  I couldn't find one at any of the local craft stores, then all of a sudden I stumbled upon one at Hobby Lobby, and I had a coupon so I paid less than $10 for it!
I strung up a 6 strand necklace in hardly any time at all to get the hang of it.  I got curved needles that you're supposed to use with the bead spinner, and it says it's for sizes 11/0 and 6/0, but I couldn't get my beads to fit over the eye :(  I ended up just curling the end of my beading wire and it worked fine, just a little slower.  guess I'll have to be on the lookout for some smaller needles.

here's a video showing how the bead spinner works.  I don't know why I didn't have this tool before now!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

banana spread

I always seem to have an abundance of bananas in my freezer, but due to weevils attacking my flour recently I thought I'd see what I could make without flour (my usual is banana bread or banana roll) and I found a few recipes online.  I decided to just wing it going from what I found and what I had on hand.

I used:
  • 1/2 stick of butter
  • 5 frozen and mushy/liquidy bananas
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • cinnamon
  • pumpkin pie spice
  • salt
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
put it all in a sauce pan and brought to a boil, stirred with a whisk until it was thick and mostly smooth.  I pulled it off the heat and added some vanilla extract and stuck it in a jar to put in the fridge.
I spread it on some plain toast and it was wonderful :)  when I finish all this up (which probably won't be too much longer!) I wanna try it with brown sugar like in this recipe:
  • 2 firm-ripe medium bananas
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup light or amber rum
Cut bananas crosswise into 1/3-inch-thick slices. Melt butter in a 1-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, then add brown sugar and cook, whisking, until smooth and combined well, about 1 minute. Add rum and bananas, then simmer, stirring occasionally, 2 minutes.

another recipe called for pecans!  I really want to try adding that, chopping them up real fine in my coffee grinder and spreading it over biscuits :)