Friday, August 30, 2013

A Mirror, a Recipe, and an Almost-Adoption {7 QTs}


Since I redid the powder room I have been taking a short break from DIY stuff to mostly just sit on my butt and watch Copper. No sense getting burned out, after all! But I did do one leetle project...

I picked up this mirror at a yard sale for $1. I'm on a mirror kick lately.

So while the kids were napping one day I gave it a quick coat of spray primer and then a couple coats of yellow paint leftover from the other nursery accessories. I don't think that quart of paint will EVER run out.

I put it next to the changing table so the kiddos can amuse themselves with their cute reflections while I do all the dirty work. So far they like it.


The kids are working some major overtime in the developmental milestone department. Noni is determined to crawl and has been working out like a maniac to make that happen ASAP.

Meanwhile, my extremely left-brained son has been holding some experiments with imaginative play. Here he is pretending to take a nap in his "crib".


My band has a gig playing at a historical reenactment on Saturday and Sunday. We have to dress up and everything! I really should be brushing up on the tunes we will be playing since I just recently started going to rehearsals again (took a long break when Noni was small...) and I am a little rusty. But it's ok, I am a master at air-fiddling.

While I am busy with the gig Nemo is taking the kids to his parents' for the weekend. So while I am not busy pretending to play the fiddle in full historical garb I will have the house all to myself. Oh my. Naps! TV that is not Super Why! Sleeping in past 7am! Wheeeeee! I am going to miss their cute little faces but I'm really looking forward to my solo staycation.

He's ready to go to Mimi's house!


The short film I Forgot My Phone was making the rounds on Facebook this week and after watching it I have been trying to curb my smartphone use, as I imagine a lot of people are. The good result is that I'm getting more face-to-face time with the family. The bad result is I am very, very behind on my blog reading. As we speak I have 37 posts in my Bloglovin' queue. THIRTY SEVEN. And I have only 1.5 hours of nap time left, tops. AND I have to make some ratatouille with our CSA veggies too. Gulp.


Yesterday I took the kids shopping to kill some time before dinner and we popped in Petco to see the animals. CJ had never been there before so he was more than happy to explore but once he saw the cat that was up for adoption is was just beside himself with glee. Pure joy.

Probably had a lot to do with the fact that it looked exactly like the stuffed cat that he sleeps with. Except, you know, alive.

I allllmost brought it home with us. When we got home for dinner I told Nemo about Meow Meow's living doppelganger and he went to Petco to check it out--he's been wanting another cat. But unfortunately there weren't any adoption personnel there at that hour so he came back home cat-less. Sigh.


Over on the other blog I am sharing a recipe to help get rid of zucchini. Check it out if you, like me, have an excess of summer squash in your fridge.

Be sure to head over to Conversion Diary for more Quick Takes!

Postscript: There's more Humblebee on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Hope to see you there! Especially on Instagram. I love Instagram.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Little Dresses {An Upcycling Project}

A few weeks ago Allison over at Sequins and Scribbles posted pictures of some totally adorable children's dresses that she made out of upcycled t shirts. Allison is a very talented lady and she has an Etsy store stocked with awesome handmade stuff that I drool over on an almost daily basis. Am I gushing too much? Sorry. But seriously. Cute. Stuff.

Anyway, back to the upcycled dresses. I was instantly enamored of the idea and while I am no where near as talented as Allison I thought I would give the concept a whirl. I stopped by the St. Vincent de Paul store and picked up a load of old tshirts for $1 each to practice on. And I did need practice.

First Edition
I really liked the colors on this one but other than that it didn't have much going for it. The skirt was too narrow and it was hindering Noni's attempts at crawling. The belt was placed wrong, which is why you can't see it in the picture. It's hidden under her belly chunk. Oh well, back to the sewing table.

Second Edition

 Gathering. I haven't done it since I was a kid "helping" my mom make a Halloween costume. I knew the basic concept so I just plowed forward without the aid of Youtube videos. Despite that, they turned out ok. Not masterpieces, but hey, ruffles!

Third Edition

With this most recent attempt I changed the placement of the sleeves and fiddled with the ruffles a little. The execution isn't great, but I am finally happy with the design. It's comfortable (I assume), easy to move in, and fun to look at.

But now I am out of t shirts. And I have out myself on a thrifting diet so I can catch up on my project queue. Double sad face.

But as soon as I paint a few things I am totally back at the St. Vincent store to get a zillion more tees, 'cause I think she needs about a dozen more.


Postscript: There's more Humblebee on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Hope to see you there! Especially on Instagram. I love Instagram.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Something New and Different {WIWS}

 So, this week's Mass outfit...

Got thrown together at the last minute. I've never worn this combo before but I think I kinda like it.

Skirt: Thrifted ages ago in a land far far away. Pittsburgh, actually. St. Johns Bay brand. Very unexciting except for the fact that when I wore this same skirt a few months ago I had to wear a belly band to keep it shut. Not so today! Woot for finally dropping some postpartum chocolate binge poundage!

Shirt: Banana Republic via Goodwill.

Cardigan: Jones New York quarter length tee hastily altered to be a cardigan. I just cut it up the middle and didn't even bother to hem the rough edge. I heart jersey material.

Shoes: Thrifted at the St. Vincent de Paul store here in town. I love that place. Sometimes they have really great stuff...but most of the time they have half-used bottles of hair gel. Finding the good stuff takes some serious dedication. I love a challenge.

Necklace: Teething Bling.  Because going to Mass with a 7 month old absolutely requires a toy that cannot be thrown underneath pews.

Bedhead and utter lack of makeup: courtesy of waking up at 6:54 to go to the 7:30am Mass. The good news is, we made it! Before the entrance hymn, even. The bad news is there were some sacrifices, like breakfast and shaving my legs.

Bambino behavior: 

CJ: Points added for getting excited for "peace time", as he calls giving the sign of peace, and general cuteness. Points taken away for tearing a page in the hymnal, taking Noni's toys, and general orneriness. B-

Noni: Points added for showing interest in the Transubstantiation. Points taken away for sucking on the pew in front of us to make farting noises during the homily. B-

Retention of material by the parentals: 8% 
Sadly, this is better than normal. Next week I am going to shoot for the stars and go for 9.5%.

Right now the kids are napping and Nemo went into work for a few hours. I have been trying to finish watching The Avengers all week and TODAY IS THE DAY.

Be sure to see some more Sunday best over at Fine Linen and Purple.


Saturday, August 24, 2013

A Small Deviation from the Plan

More like a wild tangent.

Earlier this week Nemo offered to get up with the kids on Saturday morning so I could have a good old-fashioned lie-in. Unfortunately for both of us he came down with a bug or something last night -- I blame the raw fish he ate on Sushi Thursday -- and was in no shape to wrangle the bambinos in the am.

So we did our thang like we usually do. Whining (CJ). Forcing mommy to write the alphabet ad nauseum. More whining (me). Hilarious attempts at clapping (Noni). Faceplanting (Noni). Demands for MORE JUUUUUUUICE! (CJ)

For a nice change of pace I tried to cut the lawn with Noni in the backpack and CJ "helping" to push the reel mower. We got half way done and suddenly everyone was crying so we went for a walk and hit up a yard sale around the corner. Two containers of sidewalk chalk for $1. Score!
It entertained him for a solid hour, but during that hour he asked me 173 times to write letters for him.

So the chalk saved the rest of the morning, then it almost ruined the afternoon when CJ refused to stop writing the letter "A" long enough to go inside for lunch. Tantrum tantrum tantrum you know the drill.

Then he decided that, instead taking a nap, he was going to lie in his crib and sing the ABC song to himself at the top of his lungs. For an hour and a half. I was super seriously annoyed, if you can believe that. I ended up taking him up to the attic with me while Noni finished her nap so I could get some sewing done.

CJ loves the sewing room, mostly because he adores scissors, pins, and seam rippers. So very few of my projects turn out well because I'm always lunging at him to take away something that could seriously maim him--or me. More than once he had tried to "help" me pin fabric together and ends up jabbing me with a pin.


While we were up there I sneezed (I never clean up there and it is majorly dusty), and he said very sweetly, "Bless you, mommy!" That cheered me up a little.

Then for the rest of the afternoon and evening, he kept blessing me even though I did not have any more sneezes. He must have said it 75 times! And every time he said it I felt a little less pissy. It's hard to be a grump when someone is blessing you every time you turn around.

I feel like Someone is trying to teach me a lesson. And He is using a two-year-old as an evangelist. Hey, whatever works.

I am going to go bask in the blessedness. And a scotch. And maybe a brownie. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Powder Room Re-Redux

So I meant to post 2-3 times this week, but it looks like it is only going to be the once! I was working on a project. Brace yourselves for an excessive number of pictures of my bathroom.

This is what our first-floor powder room looked like when our realtor took us through (almost two years ago now--wow!) It is tucked under the stairs where some people have a closet.

It is teeny. Teeny tiny. And I'm not one of those obnoxious women on House Hunters who won't shut up that her 6'x8' bathroom is justtoosmall. You have to back up to use the toilet. IT'S SMALL.

There was a kind of miniature bathtub hidden beside the sink.

The tub wasn't original. As you can clearly see in this picture, the space for the tub was stolen from the kitchen during some pretty ghastly "renovations" some decades ago.

We debated long and hard about whether or not to remove the bathtub when we were redoing the kitchen, and in the end we decided that the destiny of that 18 square-foot patch of space was to be re-incorporated into the kitchen.

Which left the bathroom looking like this:

And it stayed that way for the next 8 months or so while we focused on the kitchen reno. Although we did remove the grab-bars at some point. I'm not dissing grab-bars. Time marches on, folks, and someday we will all need some toilet handle action. But the bathroom is just SO SMALL that those handles made the space feel a little like an iron maiden.

Then my in-laws came to visit this past February and while Nemo and his dad were installing a new front door, my mother-in-law offered to paint the bathroom. I, or course, said yes. I already had a color picked out an everything.

However, there was some sort of mix-up at the paint store and the color that went on the walls was most definitely NOT the color I picked out. It was supposed to be this:

Valspar Toasted Oat

Instead, I got this:

Aieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! My eyes! It was a seriously bright, migraine-inducing yellow color. Of course I didn't notice the mix-up until the walls were already painted, but I figured that it was better than bare drywall!

So that was back in February...lessee that was six months ago now. Six months was apparently my breaking point because one day I got the sudden urge to repaint it, and I didn't care how many nap times it would take. That bathroom needed to be FINISHED dammit!

Buuuut I didn't have much money. Isn't that always the case? So I made do with what I had. Ok, I did make a few purchases, but the total amount I spent on this project was $29!

1. Paint for the walls. I made a huge concession here and used the leftover paint from the kitchen. It is one of my pettest of pet peeves when the same materials are used in both the kitchen and the bathroom. Like having the same floor tile. It just gives me the heebie jeebies, I don't know why. Anyway, FREE, except for the mental anguish.
2. Paint for the ceiling. Already had this in my paint stash, so FREE!

3. New baseboards for the wall where the tub used to be: Not free, but only $1! I didn't need much, and there was a piece on the clearance cart at Lowes because the end was damaged. So I didn't use that end.

4. New quarter round to go with new baseboard: $3. Nemo gave me a lesson with his miter saw so I made some of the cuts myself! 

5. Fresh white paint for baseboards and door: $25. I bought a whole gallon because white paint always comes in handy.

5. Towels, candle, and cup: All gifts, so FREE!

 6. Picture: I thrifted this a few years ago. It reminds me of an illustration from a Hans Christian Andersen book I had as a kid, so it is one of my favorites. It used to hang in the bathroom at our old house but I hadn't put it up here yet because both the bathrooms were gross and not worthy of my favorite picture. I did spend $4 on some white spray paint for the frame.


This project cost me three consecutive nap times. I was surprised it took so long since it's such a small room (for real), but I would gladly have spent twice the time. I don't even care that it's the same color as the kitchen.

DIY Show Off

Friday, August 16, 2013

Bleach Blunder

Earlier this summer I decided there were not enough sleeveless shirts in my life so I thrifted a couple. This one was my favorite of the bunch. The fabric is super soft and the color is great. (It's actually more of a sea green, although you can't see that in the pictures.)((Please ignore the photobombing dead stinkbug.))

It was only a few short days later when, genius that I am, I decided to wear my new favorite shirt to clean the house. Of course I splashed bleach on it.

It isn't super obvious but it bothered me, so I threw it in my mending pile and moved on with my life.

Then I was telling my grandma my story of woe and she suggested that I just put an applique over the bleached areas. I'm kinda embarrassed that I didn't think of it myself; I never pass up an opportunity to applique.

Earlier this week the kids and I had a great morning together, so when nap time rolled around I had the energy for something other than sitting on the couch and recovering.

First I printed out some appropriately sized stars (I used the "insert shape" function in Microsoft Word).

Then I transfered the stars to some Heat n Bond iron-on adhesive paper and ironed them on a scrap of pretty fabric that I had left over from making a knotted teething necklace.

After removing the backing from the appliques I placed the stars strategically over the bleached spots and ironed them on real good.

Then I did some hand-stitching around the edges of the stars for some visual interest.

Pictured here with the teething necklace from whose leftover fabric I made the appliques.
(BTW, I finally reopened my Etsy shop now that Noni occasionally permits me to sew. I have several teething necklaces listed there!)

Hey! I think I like it even better than I did before. 

Monday, August 12, 2013

A Quick Outfit

I have a bad habit of buying clothes without trying them on first. I love shopping, looking at different prints and styles and whatnot, absolutely hate going in to dressing rooms and actually seeing if they fit. Maybe this is because I get the majority of my clothing from thrift store which do not, traditionally, have swank dressing rooms?

Anyway, I went to Goodwill with the intention of buying something to wear to my sister's bridal shower, as I had a bad case of "nothing to wear" syndrome. Really, very few things in my wardrobe fit me at this juncture.

This was the day before I would be leaving on the 6-hour road trip to get to said shower, so my schedule was kinda full with all the getting ready and stuff. Luckily I found two great items right off the bat, a nice looking pair of jeans and a cute vintage red polka-dot shirt. I paid for them and left in a hurry.

Unluckily, once I got them home I discovered that neither fit. The jeans, although in general were a good fit, were comically short.

And the shirt was just too big. 

I was so sad!

The next day I finished packing with a half-hour to spare, so I hurried to my sewing machine and gave my outfit some quick-and-dirty alterations. First the jeans got a dart up the back of the calf, then I trimmed a few inches off the bottom.

Then I sewed a zig-zag stitch along the rough edge and turned it up a few times.

Since the fabric of the shirt was fairly stretchy it didn't need any complicated alterations, I just took in the side seams a few inches.

Yup. Pleased as punch with myself.

My pearl jewelry really worked with it. For the record, I wore cuter shoes to the actual bridal shower but I forgot to put them on when I was taking the picture. Although I still cling to the belief that Teva sandals go with everything.

I finished up just in time to throw the outfit in the suitcase and head up north, where a good time and many mimosas were had by all.