Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween Costumes on the Cheap!

I don't recall ever having a store-bought Halloween costume. Maybe some of the elements were store-bought, but the bulk of the costume was generally homespun. I know I dressed as Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz several (5? 7?) times, wearing a blue dress and glittery red shoes. My mother once made me a skirt from an old flour sack so I could be the pre-bibbidi-bobbodi Cinderella. I wonder if kids ever even dress as that version of her anymore! As I got older, I remember wearing my karate uniform at least once, and a few low-effort hobo costumes (Grandpa's flannel shirt? Smudge on the cheek? Bindle? Check!).

At any rate, for Shubu's first Halloween, I went classic-for-me with a Wizard of Oz theme. I already owned a blue gingham shirt, and my hair is easily braided. I bought two curly red ribbons from the stationery section of Target to stick to my sneakers, and called it a day!

Shubu's outfit was a little more abstract. She wasn't a character - she was the rainbow! "Where troubles melt like lemon drops..." We already owned the tie-dyed onesie and rainbow-striped Babylegs. I purchased the Nike mary janes on clearance ($5) at Nordstrom Rack.

The only thing I had to make was her tutu. I had fold-over elastic on hand, and picked up a roll of white tulle from Michael's for about $3. I followed this tutorial and in maybe 15 minutes, it was done!

What, is this not how you would test it?
For all of that effort, we had monsoon rains all day and night starting on the 29th. Womp womp. Under flood watch, it seemed like a bad idea to drive to Pembroke Pines to go trick or treating with a friend, so we just walked Marley Toto around the block in the rain. Happy Halloween, y'all!

Bill, Eric, Edward... Don't Watch This

This video explains how to peel an entire head of garlic in 10 seconds. Gabrielle Blair says it works! Next time I'm craving a ton of roasted garlic spread on crusty French bread, or want to make 40 Cloves of Garlic Chicken, I'm sooo trying this. Video

How to Peel a Head of Garlic in Less Than 10 Seconds from on Vimeo.

Quick-n-Dirty Wipes Container Craft

Hmm, maybe I shouldn't imply that it's a dirty-wipes craft; that's a little gross. I order all of my diapering supplies from with my Amazon Mom account. While it is definitely the best value for my money (well, since I'm not cloth diapering), the bulk packaging is not the most attractive. I took my Pampers wipes box...

And just added a piece of scrapbooking paper that I thought was cute.

I packing-taped it to death. If I were going to make this for someone else, I would have Mod-Podged it, and used a coordinating paper on the other three sides of the box. Since it was "just" for me, I didn't care about the other sides, since I can't see them from its spot on the changing table shelf.

The sheet of paper was 19 cents, the box was already here (free) and the packing tape... let's guess I used 6 cents worth, to bring the total cost of this craft to a whopping quarter!

I plan to eventually cover a couple of the plastic wipes dispensers with a coordinating paper. Also, if I had realized I would be publishing this photo, I would have taken the clothing off the top of the changing pad, ha ha.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Squeegees Sounds Like a Fifties Doo-Wop Group

Here's one I never saw in Heloise. I go into the guest bathroom to... well, you know. There's a strange looking sheen to the floor in the corner by the bathtub. Upon closer examination, a bottle of baby wash has tipped over and poured about 1/3 of a cup onto the floor. How the flip do you clean up soap?? Adding water seemed dumb, and it didn't seem like it would soak into a sponge or mop. I attempted to wipe it up with paper towels but hardly made a dent after 4 sections of towel, so I gave that up. It seemed like scraping would be a good idea...

The bathroom squeegee! I scraped from the top of the spill, then right-to-left. It got almost all of the soap off the floor (and then rinsed down the sink drain). Finally, I gave a little rinse to the floor with hot water and used my microfiber hair towel to sop it up (yeah, ew, but I had to get it up!) (that's what she said). I have a feeling that will not be my last parenthood-related cleaning conundrum.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Foam Flooring

Now that Shubu Lubu is cruising and getting ready to walk, I thought it would be a good idea to cover our hard terrazzo floors with some foam cushioning. I absolutely abhor the look of the rainbow-alphabet-pop-out tiles that everyone seems to get, so I got to Googling. There are gray and black foam mats available from sites like eWonderworld and We Sell Mats, but the prices with shipping were pretty high. I was looking at $70-100 with shipping for the minimum amount of flooring (enough to create a little play area in the living room, and a foam boundary around the crib in case she finally launches herself out). Even the least-garish of the colored tiles on Amazon (Skip Hop) were insanely expensive. So I started looking in stores. Lo, for the first time in my life, I found a great deal at Babies R Us. 36 square feet of (shudder) alphabet tiles in rainbow colors for $25. Even better, when the cashier rang them up, they had been reduced to $19.99 (and 20% off coupon!). I bought two packages.
In the living room, I was able to make a 4x6 foot pad underneath our area rug without it showing. I'm very pleased with that.
Now you see it...
Now you don't!

HOWEVER, the bedroom is another story. I've moved our Momeni rug to cover some of the alphabet tiles directly in front of the crib. The two side areas are still exposed and hideous. The final insult is that the letter "T" was missing from one of the sets of letters (or magically disappeared upon entering my house; not impossible). So on one side, I am short by one stinking tile. Target had black shag rugs on clearance ($12!), so I picked one up to cover some of the remaining tiles. Even though I don't like the easily picked apart letters, I'm happy to have spent about $90 less than I had originally anticipated.

Kind of Oops Romper Re-do

I bought Shubu some long-sleeved rompers for our trip to New York this Christmas when they went on sale a few weeks ago, thinking she would be in 12 month clothes around the age of, oh, I don't know, 12 months. Well, I will never learn my lesson, apparently; she started wearing 12 month clothes at 8 months and it is too dang hot in Miami to wear long sleeves right now.

My first thought was to just rip the seam and remove the sleeves. Simple, no? However, after I started ripping, I found that the seam also attached the binding on the short part of the sleeve. Oops. I stitched the binding back on in quite the mediocre fashion. It looks a bit like how I imagine Mary from the Little House on the Prairie series' sewing looked. You know, after the fever that took her sight. The other sleeve I just cut as closely as possible to the seam and left the raw edge inside.
If no one looks too closely at the back of her left sleeve, I'll call it a success! And if they do look too closely, I'll explain that it was mended by a blind girl, struck by scarlet fever and a stroke. If they judge that, they're assholes.

In the Blog House

I've been asked by several people in the last month where they can read me, or why I don't consider myself a writer. The last comment was the tipping point, and I started asking myself why not. The very valid reasons are because I don't have confidence in my writing, nor in my ability to be consistent about it. Before this winter, I also didn't have an appropriate topic (as a middle school teacher, blogging about work screamed "liability!" to me). However, I now have an endlessly entertaining baby, and I know that the only way to become good at something is to practice it. So... tally ho!