How to: make an Eric Carle onesie

IMG_2065I love The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. I mean really. Who doesn’t? I thought it would be really fun to have a onesie with the caterpillar on it. I did a fabric marker version for a friend a year or so ago, but decided I wanted to try with buttons. I love how it turned out!

 

Supplies:

  • (1) onesie-I got this cute white one with puffed sleeves for my friend’s baby girl
  • (1) red button
  • (4) light green buttons
  • (2) medium-dark green buttons
  • dark grey thread for sewing on buttons
  • dark grey embroidery floss for antennae

Everything but the onesie I found at JoAnn’s. I used a 0-3 month onesie, with 7/8″D red button and 1/2″D green buttons, so you can get an idea for scale.

This actually turned out to be a great project for me right now (read: on restricted activity and not used to taking it easy and kind of going stir-crazy), I could do it sitting down, and it kept my brain occupied.

IMG_2064

I started by simply laying out the buttons and moving them around until I liked the look of it. Then I carefully lifted the buttons one at a time and made a small mark on the fabric where I wanted them to end up. At this point, my mother recommends using stabilizer on the inside of the onesie to make it more durable. But I had forgotten to buy some, so I just made do without and it was fine, but I will admit that afterword I wished I had used stabilizer.

After sewing the buttons (make sure to double-check your locations before starting each button), I added the antennae using embroidery thread. I didn’t want to have any marks on the fabric here, so I actually just pierced the fabric with the needle to show myself what path to take. I used a simple back-stitch, and a french knot for the ball at the end. I you are unfamiliar with embroidery stitches, this is a great post that can get you started.

 

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Operation white sauce

I’ve realized that I become a much better cook when I experiment instead of following recipes. I actually learn cause and effect, and not just how to follow directions. Which, isn’t really a surprise because I almost always learn better by doing.

Last night I wanted to make a white sauce (I hesitate to call it alfredo) with dinner, but knew I didn’t have cream, which my favorite white sauce recipe calls for, so I decided to wing it. I don’t know what kind of sauce it was, but it was amazing. And I wish I knew what amounts I used so I could accurately replicate it at some point.

First I started by chopping some garlic. I let that saute for a few minutes in some melting butter until the butter starts to simmer, just the tiniest bit. Then add the flour, a little at a time, until it looks thick and fluffy, but not floury at all. If you love the taste of browned butter (like me) feel free to let it sit for a minute at this stage to get just those hints of it. When the kitchen starts to smell like heaven, I added chicken stock and a little bit of milk. I seasoned pretty simply with some ground salt and pepper and just a titch of rosemary. I let that sit over medium heat for a few minutes while my pasta was cooking and I defrosted some cooked shrimp.

Because I’m lazy, I literally just put the frozen shrimp in a colander, run some water over them, and then when my pasta is done, pour it through the same colander. Easy.

After the liquid reduced a bit, I added cheese. Because what sauce can be delicious if it doesn’t have cheese in it? Answer. None sauce. I used a combination of parmesan and mozzarella and stirred till it was melted evenly in.  Make sure your heat isn’t too high or the cheese will burn, which is less than ideal.

Once your cheese is in, add the pasta and shrimps and stir. Then add more salt and pepper. Because it sounds good. And let everything sit on medium low heat, stirring occasionally, while the flavors all meld together.

Voila. White sauce. Delicious, cheesy, white sauce. It even reheats well. Please enjoy my attempts to guess at the amounts:

2-3 cloves garlic
3 T butter
2 or so T flour, add a little at a time so it doesn’t taste floury
1 cup of chicken stock… ish
1/3 cup of milk… ish
1/2-3/4 cup cheese… ish to taste; add a little at a time until you think it looks good
salt & pepper and seasonings to taste

In other news, by reading this recipe, one could deduce that I have become my mother–her recipes always look like this. Used to drive me crazy.

Time out for art!

It’s an important thing.  Using a different set of skills than the ones you use everyday not only expands your horizons, the variety sharpens your senses and makes you better at the things you normally do.  The brain is an amazing thing. So we decided to encourage the brain and be awesome and have craft night together.

These are the mugs Tyler and I designed and baked!  Hooray for craft night!

Magical Narnia wardrobe? Nope. Just regular type.

Our new apartment has next to no closet space. And we both have enough clothes to fill the one closet we do have single-handedly. So we’ve been looking for options. Mine mostly consisted of going to IKEA and buying a new wardrobe, but Ty thinks spending so many monies on something we might get rid of in the next year or two is absurd. Logic. Weird. So yesterday we decided to go check out some consignment stores to see what we could find to fill in the storage gaps.

First of all, we found some awesome consignment stores. Armadillo was closed, but I could see all kinds of mid-century awesomeness from the window. I’m very excited to go back. And when we went to Mosaic, FIRST they had a labrador that likes to follow you around the store. 10 points to Gryffindor. And as we were pulling up I could see the most gorgeous cabinet just sitting on the concrete being offloaded from a van.

me-I want that one.
Ty-But it’s in pieces.
me-but I bet it is beautiful when it’s not in pieces anymore.

Ty is learning that sometimes the best defense against my irrationality is to not respond. Responding encourages me. It makes me fight for the crazy, and only serves to convince me further that I really want whatever it is until I become so entrenched in my delusion that every rational argument in the universe can’t convince me I’m wrong. Probably luckily for both of us, he stopped at this point. Because when I can debate things out in my head,  usually rationality is allowed to happen. But I did let myself wallow in the idea of the 1920s English dowel-construction solid wood wardrobe with mother-of-pearl inlay and some lovely Jacobean influence.  Straps and jewels people! We walked around the store for a while and made friends with the owners (you can never be too good of friends with the owners of a vintage/consignment furniture store) and looked at all the other offerings. And came back to the cabinet. It was too big. And didn’t have the right sort of compartments. And was missing some beadwork. And was probably too much money. And. And. And. It was beautiful. And we could have made room for it somewhere. Right?

Wrong. Reality prevailed. We walked away. But at this point, the dream of getting all our piles of clothes off the floor was so close we could practically taste it. So we drove over to Goodwill. We’ve found good things here before. In an episode a few months ago that I still feel bad about, I wanted to think about a cabinet Ty wanted to buy and when we went back for it the next day it was gone…  But we learned that good things disappear quickly. So that was a good lesson.

This time we found a kind-of awesome probably TV cabinet. And it was only $35. Thirty-five. That’s like practically free. But it was a gorgeous red-stained solid wood cabinet with some subtle Japanese influence in the details. The idea was we would get a rod and bolt it inside the main compartment to hold hangers, and put all my sweaters in the drawers. There was even a moment of excitement when I realized that I might could put hooks inside the doors to hold all my necklaces and belts.

This is very exciting people. No more necklaces hanging on the knobs of my dresser. And all the doors of the house. And laying horizontally on every empty surface. And some of the not-so-empty ones. And living inside the individual compartments of a pill case (on second thought, those will probably stay there. It is so convenient to take on trips!) We were getting excited. When we realized why it was $35.

Clearly this was a “custom” cabinet. They had drilled sections out of the shelf to put vents. Actual louvered vents you would normally see in your carpet. And they had jerry-rigged fans to run behind the vents. And then they lined every seam in the cabinet with foam weather-stripping. Everything was secured by hot glue, duct tape, finishing nails, AND adhesive. Because one method just isn’t enough.

I have no clue what they were insulating against. The vents and fans would imply some sort of server system that overheated easily. The insulation implies the opposite. And I have no clue what the giant hole through the top means. In retrospect it’s not unlikely that this wardrobe was involved in something illegal. We are in Seattle.

But we just wanted to buy something and move forward. So we did.

ADVENTURE TIME!!

Because when we left our house at 5 that afternoon, neither one of us was actually prepared to purchase anything. Certainly nothing that would require manual labor and tie downs.

However both of those things were needed. Because after realizing that the cabinet was way too huge to fit inside my mariner, Ty and I took a trip to Fred Meyer to buy some winches and a rope.

Now, you have to understand. My father gave me unrealistic expectations about my ability to use a winch. I have seen my Dad tie down anythings so many times that I assumed it was one of those things we could do with out training or instruction. No You-tube videos required. Like some sort of instinct or urban-survival-of-the-fittest technique. This was Darwin. We would open the package and thread the straps through and winch that wardrobe up that a champ! And all the people dropping off and picking up at Goodwill would be awed by our prowess at tying things down. They could only hope to be as awesome and handy at tying things down as we were.

Turns out. Although I have figured out how my Dad ties knots in ropes… winches are only simple if you know how to thread the strap through the mechanism.

Ty and I do not know how to thread the strap.

So after it took three grown men to lift the upper portion of the cabinet to the top of my car, we started trying to tie it down. The rope worked great! I tie a mean knot. The winches… were more decorative than anything else. I plan to have my father give us remedial winch training at his earliest convenience. Ty drove the whole way home with his arm out the window holding on to the cabinet.

By the time we got it home, we realized that there was Ty… and me. And together we count strength at maybe 1 1/2 grown men. And that’s only because Ty counts for 1 1/4.

Through no small amount of effort and the creative use of our all-purpose LPT, we managed to get both halves of the unit up to the second story of our building with minimal damage to it or ourselves.

Ty did demo, and I removed insulation adhesive like a bandit. Then we just bolted a good solid rod to the interior, and some hooks on the door.

Et, voila. Precisely what we needed. A tv/weirdo storage cabinet that had been designed to look like a wardrobe… that we re-purposed as a wardrobe. So back to its roots really.

Also. If you didn’t immediately associate the blog post title with Victoria Elizabeth Barnes, do yourself a favor and read this postI consider her my blog soulmate.

We’re not dead

just only married.

We thought we were even being completely normal about the whole thing. But turns out that it’s completely impossible to be normal about being newlyweds.

But that’s fine.

We’ll suffer the consequences.

We loved the way our wedding turned out. It was exactly as we imagined it. A perfect Seattle summer day. Ceremony at the Seattle Mormon temple, reception at the Kirkland marina. All of our immediate family and closest friends. I think the only slight wrench in the plans was that weekend DOT decided to close I-405, 520, and 90. And our venues were right where they intersect so travel was a little unpredictable. And the cake admittedly had a slight mishap that we were able to remedy on site with some extra ribbon–so no harm done. But it was a beautiful day, a perfect day.

Happy wedding to all!