Saturday, September 18, 2010

Ruffled Camera Strap

I've had my eye on these cute DIY camera straps for awhile now! I'm so excited to finally have one done. I was a little nervous with the ruffle, as I've never made one before. I'm not much of a seamstress - I have a sewing machine and I know how to do the basics. I was pretty sure I'd have to complete one strap to realize how to really make one. So I started with some extra fabric from another project. As I started working with the print, it became too much for my eyes! I'm honestly just a simple girl, who loves simple things. Who would have thought I'd end up with my first strap a success - and of two solid colors! However, I can't stop with just one. So, I should have a new one with my original fabric scheme made soon. Who doesn't love variety?!

I started off with THIS tutorial from Crap I've Made. Love this site, love this tutorial! This is where I learned to do the ruffle, and piece mine together.

An old camera strap, for the hardware AND/OR upholstery-grade vinyl and 2 3/4" dog collars
Heavy fusible interfacing, the same length and twice the width of your strap
Fabric the same length and twice the width plus 1” of your strap
A longer strip of fabric for your ruffle

I decided to change the length of mine to 30", because I always wear my strap like a messenger bag - the added length would be nice for me personally.

I also used THIS tutorial from I Kat Bag to make my own vinyl covers for the ends. I wasn't about to tear my original Canon strap apart, and I had no interest in searching for an old strap. Perfect tutorial! Also, for the nylon straps that connect to the camera, I love that she used dog collars! What an easy find from Walmart or Target!

I prefer the buckles from my original Canon strap, so I just removed those and added them to my new ruffled strap.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Mojito-maddness - Mojitos and Mojito Cupcakes (And 1 of 10 #21)

While discussing my 29 things to do before 30 list with my sister-in-law, she jumped in on number #21 - Make 10 new alcoholic drinks. She was totally interested in helping with this one. Perhaps it's due to her being 7 years She's still in the "partying" stage of life, however...she might very well be one of the most mature 22 year old's I've known.

Now, I'm from Texas...and I'm a beer kinda girl. Bud Light to be exact. In my younger mind, drinking a mixed drink was for sissy's. I may be a short 5' 1 100lb girl, but I tend to think like I'm a 6 ft, 200lb guy. - Crazy Texas girl.

My sister-in-law Kristen, first suggested a Mojito. I decided to go with her first suggestion because 1. it uses fresh herbs, 2. it looks pretty. It also sounded like a great drink to go with this new dinner recipe. Which btw, it did! 

After dinner, and during a little blog searching, I came across this Mojito Cupcake recipe from Cream Puffs in Venice. As I told Kristen about my find, it was within minutes we realized we had all the ingredients on hand, and decided to make cupcakes! Unfortunately, I don't really recommend the above recipe. It was good, but we altered the cake recipe, as well as the frosting. It was very lime style, little mint flavor before alterations. We'll need to make the recipe with alterations again to perfect it. Until then, here's a photo of our final product.

Grilled Chicken with Lemon Basil Pasta

The other day my sister-in-law told me about this amazing website she loves to get recipes from. Within minutes, I had The Pioneer Woman in Google, and her website in front of me. I was amazed at all the of recipes she has -it was tough to choose one to start with. But, this one stood out for me to try first.

I can see where next time I may add more of the pasta water to bring the cheese together for more of a melt, but...none-the-less, it was amazing! My sister-in-law, the kids and I were starving so there was no time for sauce perfection.

Monday, September 13, 2010


September 2 - First day of school

  It's been a week since Cass started school, and Friday we received our first note home from the teacher. It reads, "Cassandra had a good week. She has been busy making her friends laugh! She seems to be adjusting well to our full day of kindergarten!" Fabulous. Really? I mean, isn't that what every mother what's to hear - polite words saying, "your kid's the CLASS CLOWN!" Jeez.

Hope the Mr. enjoyed his email updating him on our daughter's first week in school, and her "status".

Paper Mama Photo Challenge: Brown

Here's to trying new things....a photo challenge! I love this photo of Kaleb taken about 2 weeks ago.  It was one of the last few warmer days out enjoying some fresh air. He was excited to see sissy and her friend running all around the yard, and going down the slide.

To see more entry's click on the button... she has an amazing blog!

The Paper Mama

Friday, September 10, 2010

SoyNut Butter Frosting -Peanut Free for Allergies

When I discovered my son had a peanut allergy last month, I was horrified! I just kept thinking about all the foods my family and I eat which contain nuts!

Since then, I've been reading ingredients like a mad woman. I'm quickly learning what foods are off limits, and what foods are to be eaten during his nap time, and very carefully! I was mostly concerned about peanut butter. It's a staple in our house! It's the item in which my son was taken to the ER after a serious reaction.

Peanut butter is no longer welcome in our house, as we've moved onto SoyNut Butter by I.M. Healthy to protect our son, Kaleb. I'm quite impressed with it to be honest. I highly recommend it for any and all families with children under 3.

For his 1st birthday, I planned a chocolate cupcake with peanut butter frosting! It was quickly tossed out the window, until I found our SoyNut substitute. I took a simple peanut butter frosting I had and just substituted the SoyNut butter. Guests at the party were quite impressed with it's "taste just like peanut butter" comments. Some didn't even know it's wasn't peanut butter!

*This photo from the party was taken by a good friend. She did an amazing job!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Mod Monkey Birthday Party - He's ONE!

It's hard to imagine my little man is ONE. He's quite the little monkey getting into just about everything, so it didn't take much to finalize a monkey themed party. Over the summer I received a 1st Wishes catalog in the mail. As I was flipping through it, I came across a Mod Monkey birthday theme - fell in love instantly! I thought the turquoise and yellow looked stunning together. As August was approaching, I quickly discovered my time disappearing! Getting my husband ready for deployment, visiting family, and enjoying what summer we had left together. Seeing so much on my plate, I was completely amazed when my friend Amber, over at Photography by Amber offered to work on his invitation for me! You can usually find us chatting on Yahoo Messenger together, passing photos back and forth, discussing projects and such. So within a short while, over popped this STUNNING monkey themed invitation in the perfect coordinating colors!

It was now time to plan a monkey party!

As I did a little internet research, I came across some amazing monkey theme party ideas. This blog is where my ideas stemmed from - Hostess with the Mostess. She has an amazing post for a Mod Monkey baby shower!

I was totally sold on the idea of using simple frames for table decor! I found these chunky wood $1 frames at Michael's. Perfect for the occasion. I painted each one, front to back. With my computer on the fritz, Amber worked on the graphics. Between the two of us - the frames were a complete success! The frames are in his room as decoration now.

The next big plan was the banner! What's a party without a happy birthday banner?! I can't say exactly where I found the idea for the banner - you can find them all over blog-land, but what a fabulous idea! I'm all for making things myself. I used my Cricut machine to cut out the circles, as well as the letters and monkey's. -I used Mini Monograms for the letters, circles and squares. New Arrival for the monkey's. The circles are in two layers, the bottom layer is a 4inch circle, and the top is a 3.5inch. I added the googly eyes to the monkey's to give them that added touch of "cuteness". I'm quite impressed with my first attempt of the banner!

The favors were simple, but in perfect monkey theme. My daughter had fun picking everything out. I needed to plan for kids of different age groups, so it deemed pretty difficult at first. I was at the point of giving up and tossing a couple bucks in a bag - ok! not really, but you can see my frustration. Then, I was at Joann's one evening picking up a new craft project for my daughter, when we just happen to spot some monkey stuff! With a purse, and small child in one arm, I loaded up the other with all the monkey supplies! The store closed in 10 minutes, so we were in a hurry. Thankfully Cass was there to help, and spot the goodies.

We decided to go with 3 items per favor. Each favor had a $1 wooden monkey cutout from Joann's, along with a .25 pack of crayons (thanks to Walmart during their back-to-school supplies). - I wanted to go with markers, but Cass wanted crayons for more color options. Plus, with the smaller children, crayons might be a bit easier in the clean up department. For the 3rd item, we went with a $1 monkey yo-yo from Joann's for the boys, and a wood beads monkey necklace kit, also from Joann's for the girls! I already had the paper lunch sacks on hand. The monkey decoration matched the banner, and was cut from the New Arrival Cricut cartridge.

Here you can see these amazing little wooden craft projects made great decor as well! Another $1 Joann craft project. I used markers to color them. I love to color! Here I have a girl, with a cute bow in her hair, as well as a boy monkey hanging from a tree - perfect for my son!

Balloons because EVERY party needs balloons, and what monkey themed party doesn't have barrels of monkeys! - Scored a deal on those...Walmart decided to clearance them to $3 one afternoon.

Mid August, I found out my son had a peanut allergy! Quickly, I realized that put a HUGE damper on my party planning in the food department! Are you aware how many foods have nuts, are contaminated by nuts or processed in a facility with nuts? Well, I didn't....until recently! I decided it was best to make his cake myself. This way, I would be certain what he was eating. A 1st birthday party isn't the time to be experimenting leaving possible reactions.

I made a simple 6 inch white cake for him, for the rest of us - cupcakes! I so badly wanted a chocolate cupcake with a peanut butter frosting - I've been drooling over this idea for months! So, you can see where the peanut allergy stepped all over my grand plan! No worries though, I learned about a product called SunButter from my son's allergist appointment, however...I didn't have time to order online. I called many local locations listed on their website, but no such luck. No one seemed to really know much about the product. I mentioned my frustration on Facebook, then before I knew it a friend took off in search of the product for me. Again, no such luck. My Mom, who lives in Texas just happen to be shopping at Target when she spotted a jaw of I.M. Healthy soy nut butter. She so kindly dropped one in the mail to me, which arrived just days before the party!

So here we have a half chocolate, half colored white cake, with I.M. Healthy SoyNut butter frosting - recipe found here. Now, I know what your thinking....SoyNut butter - no thank you! But, I'm beyond impressed with this stuff. My guests even commented about how it tastes just like peanut butter! Really impressive stuff! I've got to hand it to I.M. Healthy! I can't imagine ever going back to a peanut butter. The reason for the half and half cupcake is I wanted a bit more color than brown and tan. I had so much fun back in April making these pancakes for my daughter. I couldn't resist another attempt at coloring food. Perhaps they are not the most lovely looking cupcakes - I never claimed to be a baker, but for an amateur - not too shabby!

#1 shaped brownies! These were a hit. Fun to eat, and fun to make. What's a 1st birthday without some food shaped as a #1.

The birthday boy amazed at the balloons. I'm totally IN LOVE with his shirt! Again, another idea found in blog-land which I can't exactly pin-point where the idea came from. I battled with finding the right size shirt, preferably one of color. White seems boring to me, personally. I found these great little pocket tee-shirts at Target for $5. Then, I stumbled on this fabric one day when I was heading to the baby section of Walmart. It just-so-happen to be sticking out as if someone was thinking about it....but instead of pushing it back, they just left it sticking half way out - Thank you lazy Walmart shopper! I purchased some Curious George fabric and was on my way. I'm no seamstress what-so-ever! I know how to sew, but more so just the basics. Which really, is all you need for a project such as this. I believe it look me 3 attempts, because I wanted my sewing line to be as straight as possible - that's the perfectionist in me. I printed the matching #1 from his invitation, cut it out, and traced it to the back side of the fabric.

Cake! The most exciting part of the birthday party. I wasn't too suprised when I realized he DID NOT like his cake. He's one of those kids that doesn't care to have sticky fingers. Sadly, he cried after touching all the icing... His, "Help! Mom...I'm sticky" pose.

Heart-broken, I decided we would have a cake take 2 the next day. SUCCESS.

*Most of the photos from the party were taken by a good friend who did an amazing job! Thanks so much.