Sunday, May 16, 2010

Who Doesn't Love a Luau?

We celebrated Gracie's eighth birthday with a luau party. She invited several classmates to our house, as well as some homeschool friends and some friends from church. Always the hands-on girl, Gracie wanted to do more than fill out her invitations, so she helped me decorate and plan the menu. Together, we baked a flip flop cake and made fruit kebabs. The menu also included a slushy Luau Punch, storebought Hawaiian Punch, "Limbo Sticks" (pretzels), Pirate's Booty, Cheesy Sharks, red rope licorice and Blue Bell Pineapple Vanilla ice cream.

Gracie also had a hand in planning the party games. She wanted to have a hula dance contest, so while at Dollar Tree one day, I picked up a "How To Hula Dance" DVD geared for kids. James thought the video would be way too cheesy, but it actually turned out to be a big hit. All the little girls were so intense and really worked hard to pick up a few moves! Rebecca and Madison tied for the win and each chose a Ty 2.0 from the prize basket we assembled. The only other structured game the kids played was "Hot Flamingo" -- same game as Hot Potato, only with an inflatable flamingo instead of a Russet. In the end, Sara was left holding the flamingo, so Madeline was the big winner.

Besides those activities, all of the girls paired off to play in Gracie's bedroom, with the Barbie house, on our whiteboard in the game room, or to run crazily around my house, pausing for sugar breaks at the snack table. The boys -- who were astonishingly quiet, by the way -- built all varieties of Lego creations in the fortress of male solitude (otherwise known as Bub's room).

The luau party was a budget-friendly way to celebrate Gracie's special day and a super-fun way to kick off the summer. Gracie has such sweet friendships and felt so blessed the whole day long -- a happy birthday for a wonderful girl!

This reminds me: In the midst of all the fall health whatnot, I failed to post when Bub Turned Nine. Sorry, Bub!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Go West, Young Babbit: Road Trip 2010 -- It's Official!

A summer baby in 2009 meant no vacation, which means Babbit the Blue Rabbit is more than ready to hit the road! Gas money has been saved, hotels have been reserved, and landmarks are being mapped -- Road Trip 2010 is official. In precisely six weeks, Babbit will leave Texas for a grand adventure. Twelve states in eighteen days makes for one very happy bunny.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day 2010

To those who've borne children,
to those who wish they had,
to those who've formed families in other ways,
and to those whose children live on in memory alone --

Happy Mother's Day.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Darling Deer

Through some blog linking, I found Michelle of Mich L. in L.A., a new and really creative craft blogger who has the most inventive ideas. I love how she uses unconventional craft supplies to make really lovely things, like a "schmancy" necklace out of curly paperclips and earrings from chopped-up Easter garland found on clearance.

She recently made some fantastic earrings from a deconstructed Chinois-style fan and offered them in a giveaway. Unfortunately, I was not drawn as a winner. Fortunately, she sent me a pair anyway.

She used curtain tabs to fashion an adorable gift bag:

The deer detail is so lovely, but even more lovely is the fact
that these earrings are made from repurposed material.

They go quite nicely with a necklace I brought home from Mozambique --
a necklace I rarely wear because I didn't have suitable earrings.

Until now...

Thanks for the gift, Michelle -- I adore it!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Cafe Shutters: The Process and a Preview

On her day off of work, my mom came over
to help me with my shutter modification.

I normally don't need help, but lately, when I do this:

Brystol does this:

As you can see, it's nice to have a spare pair of hands.

So, Mom did a lot of this:

Together, we (three) did this:

And we came up with this:

This is just a preview. We still have to paint out the frame, top the whole thing with trim and install it, but building one box took all afternoon, what with all the math and such. Oh, the math! The next two should be easy (or at least, easier) to throw together -- we just need our schedules to align.

Easier said than done...

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

A Blind Find

On any given Monday, this could be my van...

In fact, this was my van on Monday. I'm an avid garage saler/thrift store shopper/Craig's Lister. (I also carry a big stroller and shop at Kroger, as you can plainly see.) In my head (or sometimes on paper), I keep a running list of things I need or want and I buy them when I find them on sale. In most cases, I'd rather leave a space entirely empty and take my time to procure things on the cheap versus paying full retail price.

Today was an extra special day for this cheapo. I've been looking for that right-priced armoire for the TV in our family room since we moved into this house three years ago. I recently found a RED -- no, a Provincial Crimson (yes, that's much nicer) -- Haverty's armoire on Craig's List for $75 -- squeal! It is so cute and matches our decor perfectly.

(Best of all: I don't have to paint it.)

Also, for some time I've been looking for a window treatment solution for the same family room. It connects to our kitchen so the wall of windows between the two rooms really should have treatments that coordinate. I've not really liked anything I've tried so far, but a couple of days after my armoire purchase, I found four brand new valances (just enough!) in the same Provincial Crimson on clearance for $2 each. I hung them, raised the metal builder blinds and enjoyed how the lovely valances framed the light.

(What I didn't enjoy was how they also framed the grill
and the side-lying basketball goal in my backyard --
or the fact that I still haven't broken out the new slipcovers. Sheesh!)

Late that Sunday night when James was out of town and I couldn't sleep, I considered my valance vicissitude and decided I needed cafe shutters. They would let in the light but block out the basketball goal -- perfect! Right away, I began looking on Craig's List, but searching gave way to sleeping which gave way to a play date very early the next day.

In this part of Texas, we have "Bulk Trash Day." Once a month, residents can put certain large items outside of their city trash cans and a picker truck will come by to collect. It must have been bulk trash day in my friend's neighborhood because one street away from my play date, someone had just set out a stack of lovely solid wood shutters on the grass by their can. Some would say, "Ew, gross," but I say, "Providence!" The shutters are in perfect condition and are entirely functional. With the exception of a little dust and grass residue on the shutter stacked on the bottom, they were all quite clean. (Still, they all got a good hosing off before storage in the garage.) While they're not technically cafe shutters, with a little modification, some simple framing and some touch-up paint, they will be. You can't beat free!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Stocking the Craft Stash

'Tis the season of the neighborhood garage sale and so far this year we've had pretty good luck picking up a few good deals. This week to me was one of my best garage sale weeks ever -- I stumbled upon a craft sale! I thought the homeowner was either making his wife clear out the hobby room or he bought out a closed down craft store, but thinking back, I believe he must have found a Michael's auction or warehouse sale. He wouldn't say, he just kept saying, "I swear it's all legal!" I'm determined to find his source.

In the meantime, I loaded up on a large assortment of brand new craft and scrapbook necessities. The stuff I picked up: Five 12x12 scrap pads, one 8x8 scrap pad, two 12x12 kits, 5 new pair of scissors, new canvas, 3 bottles of Mod Podge, raw birdhouses, large punches (like Whale of a Punch), small punches, long punches, laminating pouches, card making supplies, adhesive runners, scrapbook dots, tacky glue, tool sets, unopened retail sticker packs [meaning sheets and sheets], and lots and lots of adhesive -- jewelry glue, flip flop adhesive (to glue stuff to flip flops), Gorilla Glue, etc. The guy's prices were unbelievably low, but I still racked up a $47.50 bill. Expecting to negotiate, I offered $35 and he said, "Sounds good to me!" Wowee!! If you've ever walked into a craft store without a coupon, you'd know this is a smoking hot deal.

Other fun stuff from today's garage sales: freestanding folding table (to alter) $3, three baskets $0.50, hardside mini suitcase (to Mod Podge) $1, NIP pink pashmina FREE, black cloche base $1, greenery FREE, shelf organizers $1, divided crate $1, black easel $0.25.

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