Monthly Archives: July 2011

Secret banana message


While blog surfing, I discovered this fun idea. So easy- just drag a toothpick across a banana and wait an hour!

Needless to say, I had to try it immediately.

ThatGuy was all like did you craft on the bananas?  I was all like yeah I did. Pretty sure he is majorly impressed with all my crafting energy this summer and counting the days until school starts.


Baby Burb Cloth and Washcloth


In my quest to be as crafty as possible this summer, I’m tackling the sewing machine. I’ve had some mild successes before.  There was the time in middle school we learned how to sew locker caddies and a gym bag.  And then when I took Fashion Workshop in high school (I’d do anything to get out of gym class!) we made garters for prom and pajama pants for our boyfriends.  Then I impressed ThatGuy with my sewing skills and made a fleece blanket that can be folded into a pillow for our first Christmas together.  (I’m pretty sure that blanket now lives at ThatGuy’s brother’s apartment. Humpf!)  All of these projects were completed under the watchful eye of school teachers and…. MY MOM!

My mom is AWESOME and can do all these cool things on the sewing machine I can only dream of.  This summer I’ve been under her guidance and today I felt brave enough to sew on my own.  Surprisingly, I’m quite pleased with the results!

Ta da!

Here’s how to make a burb cloth.  This one goes out to all the babies who like to spit up.

1. Pick out a cute fabric and a backer (I recommend terry cloth).  You can also use fleece or minky.  Prewash to shrink and clean.  Cut out a rectangle 16 by 11 inches.

2. Pin the RIGHT sides TOGETHER.

3. Sew around the edges, leaving about 1/2 inch seam.  Also, leave about a 3 inch opening to ride-side out your burb cloth.

4. After you righte-side out your burb cloth, iron down the sides to get a nice crease.

5. Carefully top stitch around the fabric, especially over the opening.

6. Another quick iron and snip off the extra threads.

7. Admire your new burb cloth!  Tie them up with a ribbon to make them look even cuter! These are almost too cute for any babies to burb on.  Almost.

8. Repeat to make more burb cloths.  If you want to do wash clothes, cut 5×5 squares and do steps 2-7.

I’m so pleased with my creation I put it up on my Etsy store!!

We love to spray paint!


I recently bought this frame at Hobby Lobby for $2.00.

ThatGuy accused me of buying this monstrosity of a frame only because it was on sale, which is partly true.  But I also like the dramatic look of the frame!  Because we like to spray paint everything, this black frame soon became dark gray.

Now we are in a great debate about what picture to put inside.  I like this one from the 4th of July:

(Yes, I made him wear red to coordinate with my blue and white.  We are a very festive couple.)

ThatGuy would like this one from a recent wedding photobooth:

Awesome photo by Yes!Photo.

Dear Reader, which one should go in our frame??  The lovely, festive couple grateful for our country’s freedom or a raucous wedding party-goer giving the The Most Interesting Man in the World a noogie?

Let Them Eat Pie!


The college roommates got together to celebrate an important birthday… one month late.   So I suppose it was a 30 and 1 month party!  I made this delicious pie:

Look at that beautiful new mommy!  Can you believe I didn’t take any pictures of the cute baby on my camera?!

I have the ultimate pie crust recipe, passed down from my mom (who got it from dear old Betty).

Sift 2 cups flour and 1 1/2 tsp. salt.  Add 1/2 cup veggie oil and 4-5 tbs of COLD water.  Stir with a fork until combined.

Then because I’m lazy, I used 5 cups of frozen fruit.  You can use any berries- I did a mixture.  Combine fruit with 2/3 cup sugar, 1/3 cup flour, zest of one small lemon and 1 tsp ground cinnamon.  Roll dough out and lay into pie and add fruit mixture.

You need to create a vent on your pie to let the steam out.  I used a paring knife to cut out the letters to spell the birthday girl’s name.  This will really impress your friends and they will think it took you many long and tedious minutes instead of mere seconds.

Wrap crust in foil.  Put in a preheated oven 375 degrees.  For frozen fruit bake 50 minutes, then remove foil and bake additional 25-30 minutes.  For thawed/fresh fruit bake 25 minutes and then remove foil and bake for an additional 25-30 minutes.

And I couldn’t forget ThatGuy!  Made him a mini-pie with extra fruit and crust. Then, because we are newlyweds and are mushy in love, I smooshed the O into a heart and stretched the J out to a C.

Front Porch Re-Do


Late in the spring my mother-in-law told me she she spied something in her neighbor’s trash that made her think of me.  She was so inspired this trash that she put it in her car and brought it home for me.  While that could be taken many ways, I’m going to take it as a compliment.  It seems someone had abandoned their DIY project- or had no use for it.  Well, one DIYers trash is another DIYer’s treasure!

The “trash” is a grill top with 3 metal cylinders attached to act as little feet.  When the top is turned upside-down, it’s a perfect plant holder!  Being the expert spray painter, ThatGuy applied a coat of shiny red paint.

Then we tried an experiment.  ThatGuy had brought home a variety of seeds from a recent job, so we planted 2 plants in the center and spread the seeds around.  The plan was for the seeds to sprout into beautiful, colorful flowers.  Here’s what it looks like 6 weeks later.

Clearly, this isn’t what we envisioned happening.  Perhaps we accidentally planted grass seeds?  Or maybe even weeds?

Feeling like we had given these seeds enough time, sun and water to grow, it was time to change them out.  ThatGuy and I picked out sunflowers and mums.  I know all you gardeners out there are probably shaking your heads at our poor choices that will never thrive in a grill top, but they are brightly colored.  And on sale.

Ta da!

I did save a couple of sprouts that looked cute on the side of the grill top.

And I moved some of the flowers from the orginal display to their own pot and put them in the shade.  Hopefully they will do better.

Our finished front porch:

Knuffle Whaaa?


In summer library we “knuffle-ized” our pictures.  What exactly is a knuffle, you ask?

It’s a bunny!  Mo Willems, my all-time favorite author for preschool through second grade, wrote a picture book based on his daughter’s favorite stuffed animal.  In this first book young Trixie is unable to verbalize that her favorite stuffed animal, Knuffle Bunny, is trapped in the washing machine in the laundry mat.  She is horribly upset and utters many words like “aggle flaggle klabble” which I’m sure means “Daddy, how can you be so obtuse and place my beloved stuffed bunny in the washing machine?”  When Mommy finally helps Daddy realizes his mistake, they have to run back to the laundry mat on the other side of New York City to rescue Trixie’s beloved bunny.

This story is universal- what child hasn’t lost a lovey? But what makes this book so unique is its artwork.  Mo Willems has taken beautiful shots of his New York street and other landmarks and then placed his artwork on top, creating a tactile pallet that intrigues young viewers.  I wish he would do one for Chicago!

So in order to “knuffle-ize” our pictures, children used pictures of their elementary school, a local park, or a downtown street as the background to their hand-drawn creations.  Even little brothers and sisters were able to complete this project and have fun doing it!  Here is a picture of my Knuffle Bunny visiting the Bean.

I think my Knuffle Bunny looks pretty good, despite what 5 year old Brendan K. told me!

Summer Lovin’- Having a Blast?


We are not having a blast today… The 20 minute storm yesterday morning has knocked out our power!  And ComEd said it will be DAYS until our power is back.  Me and ThatGuy are bouncing from air-conditioned coffee shop to air-conditioned book store, trying to stay sane.  We are the type of people (like many) who like routine and our personal comforts. Do you even know how often we use power?  Lights, TV, washing machine, radio, microwave, garage door, garbage disposal- the list goes on and on.  No problem with water and plumbing (which is a good thing) and a little bit of a mystery to me.

We keep reminding ourselves about the people in Joplin, MO and all the other recent tornado and fire areas where people have lost their entire homes, which helps us keep this current inconvenience in perspective.  And we are lucky to have parents close by, who are happy to store food in their refrigerator and let us sleep in their guest room.

OK, enough philosophizing and onto today’s project!  I’ve been playing around with my Silhouette machine and decided to make a paint chip banner.  ThatGuy and I rode our bikes over to Home Depot, where you can take paint chips for FREE.  I decided to use yellows and oranges, which are summer colors and compliment the reds in the living room.

Then I used Britannic Bold font and used the carrier grid to kind of eyeball the size using the carrier sheet.  I’m sure there is a more technical and better way to do this, but hey, I’m learning.  After much fiddling around, I ended up using the Heavy Cardstock setting and did a double cut.

Watching the Silhouette cut paper is like the coolest thing ever.  And it makes awesome spaceship sounds, which really enhances the experience.  If you don’t have a Silhouette the same banner could be made by using a dye-cut machine (I’ve seen these at craft stores you can pay to use) or stopping by your local elementary school and sweet talking the secretary.  You could also print out the letters using Word and then cut them out to use as a template on your paint chips.

After cutting out the letters, I laid them under a heavy book for a day to make sure they were flat and just used Scotch tape to attach them to twine.  And I apologize for these crappy photos.  I wanted to take these pictures and escape from our hot and humid home and into the sweet air-conditioning at Borders.

Bunny is super hot too.  I gave her some water in a dish which she drank a little, promptly spilled and then laid in.  This must be a bunny version of a pool.



The other day I received a picture text from ThatGuy.  Here’s what it was:

My Silhouette machine arrived!  I may have let out a little scream of excitement in the middle of the outlet mall… Now I can reach my full crafting potential!!  I immediately unpacked and made a mess (one of the things I do the best).

This machine is AWESOME.  You can design or download an image and the Silhouette will cut it out for you.  I played around with it for a little bit and cut out some letters, but I need to start a serious project.  Stay tuned to see what me and my Silhouette will create!


Wedding Bookmark Album


While wedding planning, I came across the Wish Tree concept.  Basically, guests write a wish for the bride and groom and hang it on a tree.  Since our wedding was in December, we did a little spin on the wish tree and turned it into a Christmas tree!

Guests found a bookmark (to go along with the book theme) at their place with a poem asking them to write words of marital wisdom that have served them well.  We placed jars of colored pencils at each table so guest could decorate or draw around their writing.  Then the bookmarks were hung on the Christmas trees.  I was a little nervous that no one would do it, but everyone did!

Fast forward 6 months later… I finally got to making the memory book!  I printed out pictures of the guests and found their corresponding bookmark.  Reading everyone’s sweet messages brought back some fun memories of our wedding day.  This is a great way to remember who was there and celebrate our day.

First step- Organize photos and bookmarks.

Second Step- Make sure bunnies are locked safely away, no matter how cute they are!  They just want to mess up the piles and chew on things.

Third Step- Arrange bookmarks and pictures on cute wedding-themed paper.

Fourth Step- Slip pages into photo album.  Admire your work and make your new husband admire it too!

Professional pictures by Katherine Salvatori.  Other pictures by me.