Thursday, 29 November 2012

It's almost time for the Advent Calendar

It's almost time for the advent calendar again. Just two more days before it needs to be up on the wall. Time to get my butt into gear and get working on it!

In the meantime I thought I'd share an advent calendar I made for Ava back in 2009.

Ava tests out the advent calendar


This advent calendar was really simple to make and I was quite happy with the way it turned out. 

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Christmas Card Photo Shoot

Now that Thanksgiving is over it's time to start working on Christmas preparations. Can you believe that Christmas is only a month away? No? Neither can I.

First up in the Christmas preparation list... Christmas cards.

It was a lovely day here in Berkeley today so we headed to nearby Live Oak Park to take some photos of the girls for our Christmas cards. Towering redwood trees, a stone wall, little bridges crossing a creek... it was the perfect location for our little photo shoot.

Here's a look at some of our photos from today.

Strike a pose

Friday, 23 November 2012

A Thanksgiving Turkey... Costume!

I've mentioned before that Ava had this idea in her head that she must dress up as a turkey for Thanksgiving. I thought this would be a fun idea so I got to work on making costumes for both Ava and Lola.

Lots of felt, coat hanger wire and hours later we had two little turkeys ready to celebrate Thanksgiving!

Here's a look at the costumes I made for the girls. They both happened to have brown onesie tracksuits in their wardrobe (as you do!) which made the perfect base for their costumes. With the addition of tails  (wired to stand up), turkey feet and beaks the girls were good to go. Unfortunately Lola wouldn't wear her costume for a photo so you'll just have to believe me when I say she looked adorable.

Turkey Ava flapping her wings

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Happy Thanksgiving 2012

Thanksgiving is over for another year, leaving us with bellies full of roast turkey, maple glazed sweet potato, cauliflower gratin, roast brussel sprouts and home made pumpkin pie. So completely stuffed!

We had a lovely lunch at our apartment with good friends and (as seems to be tradition) a little too much food. Not that we have huge amounts of food left over mind you; maybe just enough for one more dinner for two. Not too bad.

Here's a look at our Thanksgiving lunch with the Autumn Leaf Turkeys that I made used as place cards.

Leaf turkey place card

Autumn Leaf Turkeys

Happy Thanksgiving!

I had intended for this post to go up last night but a little technical glitch (I reached the limit of Blogger's included photo storage space) threw a spanner in the works. All sorted now.

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In the lead up to Thanksgiving our apartment seems to be full of Autumn leaves and turkeys. So I thought, why not combine the two in a fun craft project? Why not indeed!

Ava has a five day weekend for Thanksgiving and the weather is pretty grey today so it's the perfect opportunity to work on another fun craft project: Autumn Leaf Turkeys.

Autumn Leaf Turkeys

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Sneak Peak : Turkey Costume

Remember how I mentioned here that Ava wants to dress up as a turkey for Thanksgiving?

Well, her request got the better of me and I started thinking of ideas for a costume. I know there's no need for costumes for Thanksgiving but I just couldn't help myself! Plus it gave me an excuse to get out the new sewing machine and play :)

Ava's costume isn't quite finished yet but I thought I'd share a little sneak peek of some of what I've come up with so far. So here you go, one turkey beak and and two turkey feet!

The rest of Ava's costume will be revealed on Thanksgiving so stay tuned!

Ava in her turkey beak

Ava's turkey feet

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Autumn Leaf Garland

Autumn really is such a beautiful time of year. The trees are so full of colour in various shades of reds, oranges, yellows, browns and green. And as the trees shed their leaves, so too do the gardens and sidewalks become full of colour. While I love seeing the leaves scattered everywhere I'm sure that those of you who have to sweep them up aren't quite so fond of this time of year!

Over the past few weeks the girls and I have been collecting Autumn leaves as we walk to and from school. I wasn't really sure what we were going to do with them but we kept on collecting them anyway. I really wanted to preserve the beauty of Autumn by bringing the colours into our apartment.

I've come up with a few projects for our collection of Autumn leaves and here's the first one: an Autumn Leaf Garland. It's pretty simple to make and I think it looks lovely hanging in a window.

Autumn Leaf Garland

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Turkey Hand Prints for Thanksgiving

In just one week's time it will be Thanksgiving. It feels like only yesterday we were celebrating our very first Thanksgiving here in America. It sounds like such a cliché, but the time really has just flown by. 

Ava is super excited about Thanksgiving - especially the turkey part of the holiday. She can't wait to eat turkey, she wants to dress as a turkey and she's eager to create turkey crafts. Dressing as a turkey may be a little odd but making turkey crafts is right up our alley.

A little search on Pinterest provided a lot of inspiration for turkey themed activities. I've got a few turkey projects planned for the girls but first up here's the messiest (and therefore the most fun!) of the lot: turkey hand prints.

Hand print turkey

This is a really simple project and the kids had a lot of fun with it.  

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Seeing Double

I never thought I'd be one to dress my children in matching outfits.

As a child I absolutely hated it when my mother dressed my younger sister and I in matching outfits. That said, my sister is 8 years younger than me and no 12 year old wants to be dressed the same as their 4 year old sister!

Fast track a couple of decades and here I am dressing my 5 year old and 2 year old daughters in matching outfits. I just can't help myself. With so many cute clothes out there, how do I chose which girl gets to wear my latest find? That's a tough one. When I find an outfit that Ava would like I just know that it's going to look cute on Lola too, and vice versa. I've been finding myself buying two of everything lately; a big one for Ava and a little one for Lola.

Not only do the girls look cute in their matching outfits, they actually want to wear the same clothes as each other. Buying two of everything avoids the inevitable jealousy that comes about when one of the girls gets a new outfit and the other one doesn't, plus they're really easy to spot in the playground when they're dressed alike!

Ok, so the girls don't dress the same everyday but it certainly does make things easier in the morning when trying to pick out clothes for the day.

My favourite brands to dress the girls in? Tea Collection, Mini Boden and American Apparel.

Tea Collection and Mini Boden make the most gorgeous dresses. The simple lines, bold colours, quirky patterns and comfortable fit make their dresses perfect for everyday wear from the school yard and playground to parties and special outings. They're perfect for layering too which is a must for the San Francisco Bay Area where the weather changes at the drop of a hat.

American Apparel is my favourite brand for basics. Both girls have a wardrobe full of American Apparel t-shirts, leggings, cardigans and dresses. The Skater Tank Dress (which you'll see below) is a favourite and we have it in so many colours. I wish they made it in adult sizes!

Enough talk. Pictures speak louder than words so let's see those cute girls in their favourite matching outfits...

Tea Collection Adorable Dots T-Shirt Dress

Laternenfest

Another weekend, another festival...

This weekend we celebrated St Martin's Day with our German friends by attending the Laternenfest at a local German preschool. We drank glühwein, ate würste and, as is the custom on St Martin's Day, the kids joined in a procession with their homemade paper lanterns.

Glowing lanterns - with squished handles!


Lola and I made paper lanterns with her little friends during the week in preparation for the festival. Amid all the paper, paint, glitter, pipe cleaners and dot art markers the kids created a beautiful mess that was turned into lanterns with a few dabs of glue here and a strip of tape there.

Can you believe I forgot to take photos while we were making them?

I did however remember to take photos at the festival on Sunday evening. However, wriggly kids and glowing lanterns at night time don't always make for the best photos so I didn't quite get the shots I would have hoped for but at least you can see how our lanterns turned out.

Ava with our lanterns - waiting for the procession to start

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Sugar Skull Masks for Day of the Dead

This one's a little late, but you know what they say; better late than never...

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As you know last week we celebrated Halloween. What you may not know is that Halloween wasn't the only celebration of the week. Following right on the heels of Halloween is the Latin American holiday Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead).

Day of the Dead is a day to remember and honour those who have passed away. The holiday is celebrated with candle lit processions and altars dedicated to the deceased. These altars are decorated with (among other things) candles, marigolds and sugar skulls.

In preparation for Day of the Dead, Ava and Lola made sugar skull masks with their friends Rider and Fiona. We used the Sugar Skull Mask Kit from Paper Source which contained pretty much everything we needed. You can find them online here. We added a few glitter pens and stickers (also from Paper Source) to the mix and the kids had a field day decorating their masks.

Ava, Rider and Lola show off their masks 

Mickey Mouse Party Ears

You may have noticed in the photos from Lola's recent Mickey Mouse themed birthday party that many of the children (and a few of the adults) were wearing Mickey Mouse ears. Now it was no coincidence that so many of Lola's guests were decked out like Mickey. We provided ears for them all to wear!

Ta da! Mickey Mouse ears!

I made all of the ears for the birthday party myself. They were quite simple to make and a hit with the kids (both big and little!) so I thought I'd share how I made them.

Friday, 2 November 2012

Time to vote...

It's time to vote!

No, not in the presidential election - or at least not yet.

It's time to vote for Ava and Lola in American Apparel's Halloween Costume Contest.

Both Ava and Lola's costumes for Halloween this year were a combination of pieces from American Apparel and handmade or store bought accessories. Ava's cape, belt, wrist bands and mask were all handmade by me. Lola's Minnie Mouse skirt and tail were made by me while the Minnie Mouse ears were a gift (of Ava's) from Euro Disney. Pretty much everything else came from American Apparel.

Super Ava

Mini Minnie Mouse

Trick or Treat

Halloween is over for another year.

We carved pumpkins, we made costumes, we drew scary pictures, we dressed up, we went in a school parade and, most importantly, we went trick or treating.

Here's a look at our Halloween for 2012.

First up, Ava's school had a parade with all the students and teachers dressed up. Ava was super excited about dressing up in her super hero outfit at school. Lola was super excited to see all the kids in their costumes and was desperate to join in.

Lola joins Ava and her classmates for the parade

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