Homemade Paper Collage Postcards, Revisited

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Apr 302013

I finally had time over the weekend to work on more paper collaged postcards and they were so fun to do again. I made three cards this time, all of them with a flower theme.

This one is my favorite:

I used my daughter’s letter stamps to stamp “Thank You” on two of the cards. My stamping certainly could have been neater, but I like to think it adds to the folk art appeal.

This was a collaboration between my daughter and me – she started the flower but then got bored, so I finished it.

I’ve got lots more ideas so I’m sure there will be more of these cards showing up in the future.

Apr 272013

I’m going to an afternoon tea party today with a bunch of my mama friends, and the lovely ladies who are hosting it requested we arrive in hat and gloves (with whimsy encouraged).  I have a few sun hats but they aren’t especially whimsical so I made a hat this morning.

I used some cardboard from a box for the hat, then covered it with cotton duck fabric. The veil is a light lilac mesh from an old sheer curtain, and the whole thing is held together with copious amounts of hot glue. I haven’t decided whether to wear it with the veil in front or behind – in front is more dramatic but the veil gets in my eyes, so that’s not ideal.

Apr 252013

When it’s nice out in Seattle you have to grill out – I think it’s actually a law or something. Last night was so beautiful and we were all in the mood for beef so I grilled up some steaks with onions and chiles. I love cooking the onions and green chiles on the grill in a cast iron pan because they pick up some of that smokey campfire flavor that adds a lot to the meal. For these heavily seasoned steaks – topped with an assertive onion/chile mix – I don’t mind using sirloin tip steaks since you don’t need a delicate cut for this dish.

Asparagus season is starting and since one of my all-time favorite foods is grilled asparagus I had to fix that also. I served the steaks and asparagus with a side of steamed white rice (I like to eat the onions and green chiles on top of the rice as well).

Grilled Cowboy Steaks with Onions & Green Chiles
serves 4

4 beef sirloin tip steaks
1 small red onion
1 medium yellow onion
1 7 oz. can whole green chiles
1 medium jalapeno
1 small red chile pepper
garlic powder
kosher salt
black pepper
vegetable oil for sauteing the onions and peppers.

1. Generously season each steak (on both sides) with the cumin, garlic powder, kosher salt and black pepper.

2. Cut the onions and peppers into thin slices, put them into a bowl and season them with salt and black pepper.

3. When the coals or hot (or the gas grill has preheated for 10 minutes or so) put a cast iron frying pan onto the grate and let it heat up for a minute or two, then add a splash of vegetable oil and the onions and peppers. Mix the vegetables well to separate any onion rings cover the grill to let them cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally (you can also prepare the onions and peppers on the stove top over medium high heat if you’d prefer or if you don’t have a heavy cast iron pan that can handle the grill heat).

4. Add the steaks directly over the coals/heat and let them cook for three minutes. Flip them and cook them for another three minutes, then move them to an area of the grill with indirect heat and let them cook for 2-6 minutes more, depending on the thickness of the steaks, the heat of the grill and how done you prefer your steaks. When the steaks are to your liking, remove them from the heat and let them rest on a platter for a few minutes.

5. Keep stirring the onions and chiles occasionally to keep them from burning to the bottom of the pan – they’re done when they’re softened and are beginning to caramelize.

6. Top each steak with a generous scoop of the onions and chiles – you should have some left over to pass at the table as well if people would like more.

I’m sharing this post at some of these great link parties – check ’em out!

Handmade Paper Postcard Collage

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Apr 232013
I worked on such a fun project this weekend – a postcard made by collaging cut origami papers and pasting them onto card stock. I only made one because I didn’t have time to do more but I’m looking forward to having some free time in the next few days to sit down and explore this technique. I bought a few packs of origami papers at Daiso (I love that store!) and have a ton of tan card stock so I’ve got lots of supplies to work with. If I know you in real life, stay tuned for a postcard – and I’ll post more photos when I’ve made a few more.
Apr 212013

Ever since my daughter’s first birthday I’ve made a custom playlist for her party, and later for each of her little brother’s parties as well. I try to fit in as many birthday songs as possible and then fill in between the songs with a mix of other music – I like to end up with about 3 cds worth of music so that the playlist doesn’t repeat during the party.  Part of the fun is that the songs run through a range of musical styles and cultures and they don’t always sound like a ‘birthday’ song at first listen. My kids and our party guests now look forward to hearing this year’s special playlist, and we listen to the cds after the birthday is over as well.

Here is the playlist of birthday songs I’ve put together over the last 5 years – I’ve also put them into an iTunes playlist so that you can easily preview the songs, download the whole list or just the individual songs you’d like (click the button below to open the playlist in iTunes where you can preview or purchase the songs – disclosure: I will receive a small percentage of the purchase).


1. Happy Birthday (Countdown Kids)
2. Happy Birthday to You
3. Happy Birthday (to the birthday girl) (Ingrid DuMosch)
4. Happy Birthday (to the birthday boy) (Ingrid DuMosch)
5. Who’s Having a Birthday (Happy Crowd)
6. It’s Your Birthday (Justin Roberts)
7. It’s Your Birthday (Nina Storey)
8. Let’s Birthday (The Not-Its)
9. Birthday Bite (Recess Monkey)
10. Happy Birthday (Stevie Wonder)
11. Birthday (The Beatles)
12. Happy Birthday (The Ting Tings)
13. Happy Birthday (New Kids on the Block)
14. Light it Up (Caspar Babypants)
15. Birthday (Kings of Leon)
16. Happy Birthday (Alan Cave)
17. Happy Birthday (Isis and the Wings of Isis)
18. Happy Birthday (reggae) (Delroy Wilson)
19. Hau’oli la Hanau (Happy Birthday) (Alicia Bay Laurel)
20. Happy Birthday (mariachi) (Mariachi Garibaldi)
21. Hoy Es Tu Cumpleanos (Nico & Morlunah)
22. Cumpleanos Feliz (Los Hijos del Rey)
23. Feliz Cumpleanos (Fulanito)
24. Zum Geburtstag (Original Alpen Oberkrainer)
25. Pen-blwydd Hapus (Bryn Fon)
26. Happy Birthday (Jingle Cats)

Do you know of other birthday songs that aren’t in this list? Please let me know in the comments – I’m always looking for more to add and birthday season is coming up around here!

I’m sharing this post at some of these great link parties – check ’em out!

Aguadito Con Cerdo {Cilantro Pepper Pork Stew}

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Apr 182013

Aguadito is a Peruvian style soup (or stew) that is a great use for leftovers in the kitchen. In fact, it tastes better when you use leftovers. We usually make it with the turkey carcass after Thanksgiving, but you can also make an amazing version using leftover grilled meats from the barbeque, or don’t use leftovers at all. We made it the other day using pork loin and it was incredible. It’s got a deep flavor from the peppers and herbs, and the vegetables add a great fresh note. It’s hearty enough to serve as a main dish with the rice and meat/poultry and is so warming on a cold winter (or here, spring) day.

Clockwise from the main photo: red onion, garlic, cilantro, red pepper, green pepper

This is one of my husband’s specialties, and I’ll have to have him make it again so I can take proper notes and write out the recipe because I want to do it justice. Think of this as a sneak peak!

I’m sharing this post at some of these great link parties – check ’em out!
Apr 172013

My husband got a Kindle Fire this past Christmas, and ever since then he’s been tempting fate with it by leaving it around naked (no cover)! I’d been meaning to make a cover for it for awhile but when I accidentally dropped a brush on it over the weekend I thought it was time to get going on that little project. Last year I made a Kindle cover that was more like a book jacket, but since his needs to be protected when he’s not using it I designed his cover as more of a padded pouch.

His only request was that I not make it “too girly” so I looked through my fabric stash to see what I could use and came up with a navy blue fabric for the outside and a cream-colored fleece (from our little guy’s old sleep sack) for the inside.

I measured and cut the fabric by laying the Kindle on top – two blue and two fleece panels. I then added a little embellishment on one of the blue panels – an embroidered heart with our initials inside. I was worried that was crossing the “girly” line, but he likes it so it’s okay!


Next I pinned the panels together (one cover piece + one lining piece) wrong sides out and sewed them together on both long sides and one short side. Then I trimmed each piece close to the hem.

 Once the panels were sewn together I pinned the two pieces (front and back) together wrong sides out and sewed them together on the long sides and across the top, then turned the whole thing right side out (notice that the bottom of both the front and back pieces are still open at this point).


I cut stiff pieces of cardboard to fit each panel, then slid the cardboard pieces between the cover and lining of both the front and back panels, pinned the openings closed and hand stitched them shut.


Finally I finished it off with some adhesive velcro to help keep the Kindle in it’s place when it’s stored in the cover.

I’m sharing this post at some of these great link parties – check ’em out!

What A Sad Day

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Apr 162013

I was all set to write a post about a Kindle cover I made this weekend but I can’t seem to concentrate on it now. All I can think of is the senselessness of the Boston bombing – my heart goes out to all those who were there. Just love on your babies and families tonight all!

 Posted by at 4:09 am
Apr 122013

My daughter is a kindergartener working so hard on learning to read at school, and I wanted to come up with some ways to support her learning at home in addition to the suggestions from school. Since I’m sure there are others of you out there in the same position, I thought I’d share what I did this week.

I made little eight page easy reader books for her, with basic stick figure illustrations, easy words and stories about her and her little brother. Here are a few pages from each book:

Now, I’m not the world’s best illustrator (duh!) but you know what? My daughter didn’t care that the pictures were very basic – she enjoyed reading the books and especially enjoyed being able to share them with her brother. Each book only took a few minutes and two books together were only 2 sheets of paper so it was an easy way to support and reinforce the lessons she’s learning in school each week. She can even color in the books if she wants to.

I made the books by stacking two sheets of paper together, folding them in half the short way, then cutting them into two books by cutting the sheets horizontally. I used a few staples in the fold to “bind” each book.

The second thing I did this week was make up some sight word flashcards, using the list of sight words her teacher sent home. I made up a .pdf with the words spaced evenly on the pages so that when they’re cut apart they’re all the same size, and they can be used as a memory match game as well (if you print duplicate words). I’ve linked to the .pdf below if you’d like to use it or know someone else who might.  I’d love to hear more ideas about fun learning activities – if you’ve got some you’ve tried with your family, please let me know!



I’m sharing this post at some of these great link parties – check ’em out!

Apr 102013
(Disclosure: The cookbook links below are affiliate links and if you happen to make a purchase through them I’ll receive a few cents of your purchase – and of course would be so grateful!)

 I guess I needed to bake something else this week as a palate cleanser after those cupcakes and I had a bunch of bananas going seriously brown so I grabbed the King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion: The All-Purpose Baking Cookbook down from the shelf and whipped up a loaf of their Banana Bread. The recipe header calls this banana bread one of the best they’ve tried, and it is really good. Its already my go-to banana bread recipe with the substitution of chocolate chips for walnuts, but I was feeling frisky this time and added toasted coconut and 68% cacao dark chocolate, and it was spectacular.

I also substituted honey Greek yogurt instead of plain yogurt and I think it made the bread a bit drier than usual, which makes sense because the Greek yogurt is thicker than the regular style. I’ll have to keep that in mind for the future because the drier texture actually works better as a bread and for toasting, while the regular moister texture is more cake-like. Besides just eating the banana bread as a snack, I sliced it into thick slices, toasted it under the broiler, then topped it with vanilla ice cream and drizzled caramel sauce over the top (this idea was courtesy of the cookbook, as well) and that was a hit with us and our dinner company.

This cookbook is another good general baking book, with lots of extra information about the ‘whys’ of baking as well as recipes from ranging from quick breads to yeasted breads to cakes, cookies, pies and pastries. This one does get some use in my kitchen and I’d recommend it for beginning to intermediate bakers.