Monday, January 31, 2011

On the Move

Hi folks! The moving truck has come and gone, leaving a mountain of stuff in its wake. I came back to Bellingham for a last hurrah, only to have my car break down up here. So I'm a little busy, and a lot scattered. I can't wait to get going on my home decor projects and to share them with you. Plus any other fun things I come across or make, but it may be slow going here for a while. I promise to be back in full form in a few weeks.

Thanks for reading mothandsparrow, you motivate me more than you can know!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Gray is the New White - Overdyeing Heather Grey

I'm up to my eyeballs in packing boxes and all I can think about is sewing. What's that about?!? My sewing machine is 100 miles away, and who knows when it'll be up and running again, but I just want to make myself new duds. New year+ new home + new town = new duds, right? Well, in the midst of packing and hauling, organizing and planning, I snuck in a little consolation dyeing.A few days ago I dyed a pair of gray leggings. Down and dirty, quick and easy, but I made a discovery. Overdyeing heather gray is amazing. It makes the color both rich and muted in a really cool way. Fortunately, the Target clearance racks are currently littered with heather gray- leggings for $4, sweaters for $4.50, etc. I picked up a few items and a couple of hours later I have new mid-winter clothes and a general feeling of satisfaction. Not too shabby, eh?

Check out these humble beginnings.And look at how rich and textural the heather looks afterwords!I know for some people dyeing can seem like an insurmountable ordeal, but it's really quite simple. I used RIT dyes, in royal blue, teal and tangerine, doubling the dye for both the teal and the tangerine. I highly recommend it, especially overdyeing a light gray or brown as it reduces the dreaded easter egg effect. Just keep in mind that fabric undergoes a certain amount of abuse when it's dyed so don't use anything precious or delicate and know that it could alter the finish of your fabric.In related news, I've finally joined the leggings revolution. I know I'm just about the last belle to the ball on this one, but I've always suspected that I'd look pretty much like Dieter from SNL's Sprockets in leggings. Turns out, that's exactly what I look like, but these things are so comfy I'm beyond caring. Now is the time on Sprockets when we dance!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Finally... the Decorations

This probably goes without saying, but the decorations were all mustaches. We just stuck 'em to whatever we could get our hands on. They're mostly cut from black cardstock or black adhesive felt. Adhesive felt is crazy fun, I'd never used it before and I can't wait to play with it again.
My favorites are the bowler hat mobiles, I'm thinking these might end up hanging in the boys' room at the new place.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Birthday Photo Booth

The best part of this party was the photo booth. It was just our Ikea curtains tacked to a wall with decent natural light, a chair and a vintage suitcase filled with dress up items. Hats, glasses, crowns, necklaces, masks, eye-patches and a variety of mustaches on sticks, of course. Remind me to do this at every party. Ever.I didn't get as many pictures as I wanted, and somehow my sneaky husband managed to escape the camera all together. The best ones, which I won't be posting for obvious privacy reasons, are of B and his friends, little somethings to remember Bellingham by. But I have some good ones of the birthday boy and me and a few great ones of my dad and his grandsons.Be advised if you attempt this at one of your get-togethers that you may end up with a painful urge to buy a crazy expensive camera or an iphone with shakeitphoto. Or both. Which is what has happened to me.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Favor Bags and Mustache Monsters

Ok, I'm ashamed to admit that this was the first time I had it together enough to have favor bags at a party. In my defense, Beckett's really only had one friend at his parties til this year, but still. Little did I know how fun it is to put together thematic treat bags. Clearly right up my alley. Each kid went home with stationery and stickers, excellent beard stickers from imadeyouabeard, the classic Wooly Willy, who is hugely popular in this house, chocolate mustache lollipops and some other candies, mustaches on sticks and finally the Mustache Monsters.

I had a hard time figuring out how to entertain a group of 4 year olds without renting a bouncy house or hiring a clown (two things I'm irrationally uncomfortable with.) The first thing I came up with was the photo booth - more on that soon, please check back! - and after a long list of other ideas I finally landed on the Mustache Monsters.They are sneaky creatures with interchangeable 'staches and a pocket in back to store them. They're also excellent hiders so the kiddos teamed up to find them all. Perfect party game and surprisingly well received. I didn't expect the other kids to get such a kick out of these guys, but apparently brightly colored mustaches are universally funny.I made the bodies out of leftover fleece and the features and mustaches are felt. They attach to the face with little velcro bits. I had originally planned on making the mustaches all black, like the bulk of the decorations etc, but I'm so glad I went with rainbow colors. It just adds to the whimsy, not to mention the ridiculousness.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Treat Table

Decorating with mustaches is pretty much the best. It automatically anthropomorphizes any object. We stuck them on bowls, cups, heaters, flags. I didn't find much that wasn't improved by a little well groomed facial hair. Take these cupcakes. By far the simplest cupcake decoration I've made, but also probably the most whimsical. The mustaches are black cardstock and the eyes are chocolate chips. Done and done. The kids got attached to all the different styles and chose their cupcakes very carefully (the "Magnum" was the least popular.)
The other goody we had with the cupcakes, which were an even bigger hit, were chocolate lollipops made from this mold. For the preschool party this morning I decorated the cupcakes with chocolate mustaches (from the same mold, but without the sticks) and chocolate chip eyes. Delicious and funny, but not as nearly as charming without the style variety.
It really was an excellent party theme. I'm so proud of my boy, his sweetness, his imagination and his sense of humor, to have come up with this whole idea. I'll post some of the decorations next.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Mustache Bash

The big party was today. And though some people couldn't make it, it was amazing. I may have to include a photo booth with a dress up box in all future parties, for either adults or children. The birthday boy was in mustache heaven, loving his birthday bowler hat and seeing his friends and loved ones with mustaches of varying styles. It was lovely, the kind of relaxed and happy gathering that you always hope for, but can never plan for. I love my friends, and Beckett's

I have to say, I have the world's most marvelous friends and without their generosity and willingness it never would have come together. Thank you Amelia!!! Thank you Heidi - though you've never read this blog!

I slacked on the picture taking, and my little camera wasn't quite up to the low light task, but I'll post what pictures I have of the details in the next few days.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Night at the Museum

I had an honest to goodness date with my husband last night. We saw this show. Pretty amazing. I highly recommend it if it's coming to your town. Or even if it isn't. There are very few "masterpieces" in this exhibition, as the work came largely from Picasso's personal collection, but there are many incredible and insightful pieces, sketches and sculptures, spanning his long and prolific career.

Of course we overheard some jerk saying "I could have painted any one of these." Classic. First of all, I doubt that, sir. Secondly, if you truly can paint like this, could you infuse it with such raw and apparent emotion? And last, could you have invented any one of the distinct styles that Picasso spearheaded? Could you have created work like this when no one in the entire world had ever seen anything remotely like it? By all means, sir. Give it your best shot. Go out and wow us with groundbreaking new Art.

It's too easy to be a critic, you can feign (and convince others of) superiority while risking next to nothing. It's one of my biggest pet peeves. I'm not saying to be blindly appreciative of every artist and his or her work. Form opinions and have favorites, look at things with a critical eye, and certainly learn to recognize truly bad art. But also recognize innovation, feeling and talent - even if it's not your bag... baby. You only succeed in making your world and yourself a little smaller by being the consummate critic.

OK, I'm off my soapbox. In other news, moving has me pretty busy, so I won't be posting as often as I'd like. Hang in there, and I'll be back to my usual in a few weeks. Thanks!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Ruffles and Toadstools

This is one of those reserve Christmas projects. I made it for my sister, Lola, the queen baker of our generation. Her kitchen colors are oranges and yellows, and she loves cutesy things. I had initially set out to find cupcake fabric, but this mushroom fabric wins. It's so perfect. A little girly, a little whimsical, and very much Lo's style.I had planned on a half apron, so I bought a scant half yard for the project. When she decided one day to expound on the utter uselessness of half aprons. Oops. Thus the apron became a skinny-ish full apron. No pocket, but plenty of frills.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Mustache Party Invitations

Was this a tangent or what? When I last posted I had fully intended to make the invitations to Beckett's birthday party from the wonderful stationery I mentioned. Then this idea happened. First of all, this was the best photo shoot we've ever hosted here at Chez Brewer, hands down. Second, how could you not laugh at a walrus with a costume mustache? It's like the Department of Facial Hair Redundancy Department! Third, look at the expression on his face. Indignation. Pure and simple. Love it. I sincerely hope we never outgrow the walrus thing, it's just too good.

I had fun with the inside of the invitations too, and I thought you might enjoy them if any of you are having mustache bashes of your own. So here's a free printable write-in invitation for you. Click here to download the pdf.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Happy New Year

Hello! I'm back from my unplanned blogging haidus. We came home last night, sans Daddus, and we're doing our best to readjust to the day to day. It's a little surreal - trying to get back to normal, but knowing that it's only a temporary "normal." It feels a bit oxymoronic, but I'm well rested and inspired, so I'll take it.

This weekend I'll be painting the new place, and I'm fixin' on a trip to Ikea. But for today I'm playing with ideas for my big boy's birthday. He'll be 4 (!) in a few weeks and he's asked for a mustache party. How fun is that? I'm thinking about bringing these guys back. And maybe a pin the mustache on the walrus game? Does anyone have any ideas? I picked up this awesome stationery today to play around with. So awesome.Anyway, I wish you all the best for the new year. Thank you so much for reading my blog, you make my small, housewife world feel wide open and inspiring. Here's to the many adventures and creative pursuits 2011 has in store for all of us!