Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Dinosaurs are NOT just for boys!

We are very happy at our house, because Belle has a NEW fascination...DINOSAURS! And let me tell you, it is WAY more fun to play dinosaurs than it is to play princesses.

How this fascination began is still a bit of a mystery, but we are definitely encouraging it. We have checked out just about every dinosaur book in our library, visited the "dinosaur" museum (NC Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh has a cool dino exhibit), pretended to be stegosaurus, pteranodon, and of course, tyrannosaurus rex. We have had a fun-filled few weeks and so we are celebrating with some cool new dino clothes, because seriously...DINOSAURS ARE NOT JUST FOR BOYS!
Bee seems to always have to play the part of the stegosaurus, so this little gal is for her (fabric from Above All Fabric...again:).

And Belle got this great tee from Happy Family happyfamily.etsy.com.

Then Belle requested a "nice dinosaur with a long neck" t-shirt. Of course, I complied with the request. I love the combination of the sweet little ruffle-neck tunic with the traditionally masculine dinosaur design:)
There is sure to be more Girlysaurus sewing in the coming weeks as well...we'll definitely share if there is:)

Monday, August 30, 2010

Making Do Monday - Fisher Boy "Shorts"

I seriously love No Big Dill...like major blog crush! So when I saw this tutorial that Katy created, I just had to try it out...that night:)

In honor of my goal to "make do" as much as possible, I raided the stash. This Red Letter Day fabric has been hanging around for months. I've used bits and pieces for small projects, but still had some serious yardage left...it's perfect for that summer to fall transition, don't you think???

Now you must know, I sew at night. That means that all fitting is done through estimation and sometimes comparison to other articles of clothing, but NEVER to the actual child who will wear the item. For these, I pulled out my favorite pants pattern...size 1 year. Bee is only a few days away from being 1, so that seemed to make sense. Then I shortened the pattern by about 6 inches to get a capri length (and lose the extra hem allowance, since I didn't need any for these "shorts."

Well you can see that apparently we grow 'em really short around here, but they're still super cute PANTS...and she'll be able to wear them for at least a year:)

Friday, August 27, 2010

During Breakfast

My girls are SLOW eaters! So slow, that I actually use meal times to sew. We all sit down together for breakfast and lunch, but when I am finished I can usually bet on at least another 15 minutes before they are. So...I sew:)

During breakfast this morning, I whipped up these cuties.

I cut them out last night, using this pattern from Made by Rae http://www.made-by-rae.com/2010/08/big-butt-baby-pants-sewing-pattern.html. I also went ahead and pressed in the creases in the hem bands etc. They came together in about 20 minutes while the girls munched their eggs and fruit.

Love the fabric??? I got it from my fave online fabric shop, Above All Fabric. Click the button on the right to visit Melanie and check out her great selection.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

"Art" with Daddy

We're going to call this art...because I just don't know what else to say about it.
(Through the spy lens...)

Daddy took Belle outside while he mowed the grass. This is his variation of supervision.
At least he cleaned it all up, including the child...with the leaf blower.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Making Do Monday - Beads in Our Hair

Belle loves hair clips, pony tails, and all things bling for her mane. But, the little snap clippies from the discount store are starting to feel like "baby" clips, so we felt an upgrade was in order.

These beaded bobby pins are perfect for tucking those bangs back out of her face (where they are 99% of the time since she refuses to let me tuck her hair behind her ears!).

Super simple....and yep, we're making do, so we found all of our supplies in the playroom closet!

You'll need:

thin beading wire

bobby pins

small beads

wire cutters or scissors

those round nose beading pliers are super helpful, but not necessary

For the sake of easy directions, let's call the rounded end of the bobby pin the "back". And the end that you open up to slip your hair in is the "front".

Twist the wire around the back end of the pin (be sure you are only twisting around the ridged prong of the pin...don't tie your pin closed with wire please) 5 times. Slip a bead on to the wire and push it all the way down to the twists you just made. Pull the wire tight and twist it around the ridged prong 3 more times. Repeat for a total of 4-5 beads. Finish off by twisting around the pin 5 more times. Clip your wire and pinch down the sharp end. Voila! Big girl hair accessory complete.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

What did you do last night???

I'd like to say that I went out with friends, had a date, or at least had an occassion to wear heels...

But in the absence of exciting adult events, I guess these will have to do:)

A super simple striped pumpkin for my little pumpkin.

A bright and colorful rainbow.

And maybe my favorite tee ever...the Rockin' Dino! Don't you just love his little red corduroy car???

Remember those posts a while back about my highly literal clothing designs for boys??? Well, I've really been working on it. How do you think I'm doing?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Making Do Monday - Fleece Hat and Scarf

Introducing: Making Do Mondays on Belle + Bee

Making Do Monday is all about making do with what you have. This is a tough concept for me!!!! When I dream up a new project, the first thing I do is plan a trip to the "projects" store (Belle's name for our local craft and fabric stores). My goal for this new feature on Belle + Bee is that I will learn to make-do with the gazillion yards of fabric that I already have. Now if you stash isn't quite as massive as mine, don't worry...all the projects can be completed with purchased materials. But I would encourage you to try to make-do with me, as much as possible:)

Each week (I HOPE!) you will find a tutorial for a simple project that I made totally out of things I found in my house and stash.

First up...Fleece Hat and Scarf! Belle got a new coat for fall, and as I was actually on my way to the projects store to get yarn to crochet a hat, I remembered the pile of fleece I had collected a couple of years ago. And Making Do Monday began:)

On a difficulty scale of 1-4 thimbles, this is about a 0.5:)

You will need a large piece of fleece fabric and some thread. This can be made by hand or machine. Assuming you don't have a large box of fleece in your closet like me, then purchasing a yard of fleece will be more than enough for an adult-size hat and scarf.


Cut the selvage edge off of the fleece. This is your new measuring tape (I was too lazy to go dig one out of the garage).

Measure the circumference of your head (or the recipient's head) at the widest point. Snip the selvage at that length so that you now have a strip that is exactly the same size as your noggin.

Now measure from your brow bone up to the crown of your head, add 4 inches and snip another piece of selvage.

Now use your two measurements to cut TWO rectangles of fleece. Make sure that the stretchy direction of the fleece goes with the circumference measurement (fleece only stretches in one direction and you want that to go around your head).

Fold each rectangle in half hamburger-style (you are going to match up the height-measurement sides of the rectangle). Sew the edges together using 3/8" seam allowance. You will now have 2 cylinders that you could wear like a stovepipe hat on your melon.

Turn one cylinder right side out and slip it down into the other so that right-sides are together. Match up the seams and pin the bottom edged together. Sew all the way around the bottom edge of the cylinders, connecting the two together.

Flip the cylinder so that wrong-sides are together. You can now put your hat on...it's just missing the fun fluff at the top.

Cut a very narrow strip of fleece (about 3/8" wide and 12" long). Gather the top of the hat, wrap the strip around it and tie several very tight knots.

Use scissors to fringe the top edges of the hat. Each piece of fringe on the sample hat is about 1/2" wide, but you can make them any width you would like.



Cut a long strip of fleece, approximately 6" wide (you really could make the scarf any width you like). For this toddler-size scarf, I just cut across the entire width of the fleece, which I think is 58". So, my scarf is 6"x58", but you could use any measurement that fits your fabric and your recipient.

If you want an adult-size scarf, or super long scarf, or you just have a smaller piece of fleece, then just cut two lengths and sew them together.

Use scissors to create fringe along both ends. You can make the fringe as long and wide as you like. Mine is 1/2" wide x 4" long.


PLEASE DO NOT EVER USE PICS OF MY KIDDOS!!!! I really don't like to post them at all, but on occassion it seems necessary for a post. I love them and want to protect them, so please respect this request!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Rainbow Dough


And with the heat, comes "caged animal syndrome," that wild-eyed, frizzy-haired, quivering with pent-up energy beast that wreaks havoc on homes across the world. You know...her name's "Belle.":)

We're pretty much a TV-free house (at least when Daddy isn't around), but sometimes we just need a break...from the heat and from each other. So a few days ago, I decided that Belle could watch 30 minutes of tv while Bee was napping. I think I needed the break as much (or more) than she did.

So I started scanning the Pre-school on Demand channels to see what I could find. I came across a show called, "Andy Pandy," from the BBC. Not having any idea what it was, I pushed play and thought I could count on its 24 minute run time to catch my breath.

I must say, the animation didn't look promising and I started to question the sanity-saving abilities of my choice, but I quickly discovered that this program was right up Belle's alley. Apparently, Andy Pandy is the go-to craft-guy in his sleepy little town. All his friends come to him for ideas when they want to make something or are just bored.

I'll be honest...I zoned out and missed the first project, but once I clued in to what was happening I learned how to make bubble prints and got a new recipe for play dough (it's below, just in case you're wondering). Second wind accomplished!

As soon as the show ended we hopped up to make some dough. I was afraid that the recipe wouldn't make enough to do more than a couple of colors, but we managed to get the whole rainbow. And when it was finished, Belle happily played for quite some time.

SANITY SAVED! Thanks Andy Pandy:)

Rainbow Dough Recipe (compliments of Andy Pandy)

2 cups flour

1 cup salt

2 cups water

2 tsp. cream of tartar

2 Tbs. cooking oil

food coloring (we like the gel kind)

Mix all ingredients, EXCEPT food coloring, in a medium-size saucepot. Cook, stirring, over medium heat until dough sets. You'll see a noticeable change in the dough from the bottom up once it starts to set. Continue stirring as long as you can, then flip until completely set.

Remove from heat and divide into balls (don't burn your fingers like me!). Add food coloring to each ball and knead well until you reach your desired color.

Allow to cool before storing, but dough can be stored in air-tight containers for at least several days and I'm guessing a couple of weeks.

Friday, August 13, 2010

My New Pet

Once upon a time, I used to say that I was a cook and, therefore, not a baker. Cooks like to improvise, they use recipes as general guidelines, and they never make the exact same thing twice. Bakers on the other hand have to measure ( NO WAY!), stick to the recipe, and are successful only through perfect replication.

I stand corrected!

A former colleague of mine (back in my former-me days) tried to educate me about the art of baking. He promised that if I did enough recipe-following to start with, then I would eventually be able to get back to my improvisational roots.

Once I left "professional land" and became full-time MOMMY, I thought I might try out his wisdom. I searched the internet for baking recipes (of the bread and roll variety, not sweets....YET!), poured over cookbooks and started treating my family to fresh baked biscuits, rolls hot from the oven, and crunchy-topped breads.

I stuck to the recipes, for about...a week, maybe??? And my friend was right! As I got a feel for the purpose of baking powder, and how that is different from the purpose of baking soda, the right dough consistency, the rise time for various things, etc. then I found that I didn't need a recipe as much. I still use them for guidance and there are a few that I think are perfect just the way they are written, but I do a lot of modification.

So, now I've started a search for more complex or challenging recipes. My first new adventure...SOURDOUGH! I spent an evening researching starters (http://www.sourdough.com/ was especially helpful) and discovered that there isn't really a one-size-fits-all starter recipe out there. Some use yeast, others rely on nature, some add sugar or even beer, others are more simple. After reading lots of suggestions, I decided that I was not a purist...nor am I patient. Waiting for nature to find its own bacteria in my flour, was probably not going to happen, nor did I feel that it was important. So YEAST it is:)

My starter recipe:

1 cup warm water

1 packet dry yeast

1 T. sugar

1 cup whole wheat flour

Heat the water using the beverage setting on the microwave (or until warm, but not hot). Add yeast and sugar. Dissolve and let sit until bubbly. Add flour and mix well. Store in glass jar, uncovered on counter. Feed the baby every 6-8 hours for the first several (7-10) days. I used two different methods for feeding depending on how much time or energy I had.

1. Throw in a T. of sugar and mix well.

2. Pour out most of the starter. Add 1 cup water and 1 cup flour and mix well.

After the first week or so, when the starter is reliably doubling in size every time you feed it, then you can move it to the fridge. Then you only need to feed it every few days.
Please be aware that it WILL DOUBLE IN SIZE, so please put it in a container large enough to handle this volume increase (or you may be explaining a rather large mess to your husband too)!

To use the starter, collect what you pour out before feeding and add it to any sourdough recipe (pancakes, breads, etc.).

Now you can have your very own BACTERIA PET too:) Maybe we can schedule some playdates for our new friends!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Self-Stitched September - Piece #1

I'm afraid that I'm off to a pretty slow start on my preparations for Self-Stitched September:(
But, I finally got around to my very first wardrobe-building project...a camel yoga skirt!

I used this tutorial from Sew Mama Sew http://sewmamasew.com/blog2/?p=8450. It was super simple and took only a few minutes. I was even able to use left-over fabric from the girls fall clothes...oooh, maybe you'll see this again on Making Do Mondays...is that cheating???

And the best news of all...it's so basic that I can wear it lots of times in lots of different ways. Do you think anyone would notice if I wore it every single day in September??? I seriously need to get busy!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Your Child's Artwork - Preservation Tutorial

Looking for a way to save some of that precious artwork that your little one is churning out by the box load??? This quick tutorial will help you preserve and display some of your favorite pieces.

You will need:
A basic line drawing from your child (hand prints would be super adorable, as would having your child write his/her name)
Plain white paper
Broad-tip black marker
Linen fabric panel (slightly larger than the drawing)
Embroidery thread
Embroidery needle
Embroidery hoop optional

1. Place a piece of white paper over your child's artwork. Trace the outlines of the piece with pencil. Remove the artwork from behind the paper and then trace over the pencil lines with the broad-tip marker.

2. Tape the paper with the marker outline to a window or glass door. Tape your linen fabric over the paper. Use the pencil to LIGHTLY trace the outline onto the fabric.

3. Use a basic backstitch to embroider all the lines of the drawing. You can add details like French knots etc. if they are necessary for your child's drawing.

4. Press the linen and mount to backer board.

5. Frame and enjoy!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


Living with a 3 year old is a very emotional experience. Whether her feelings are rocking or mine are rolling, it's always a roller coaster around here. So naturally, we spend a lot of time talking about feelings, what they mean, and how we can deal with them.

Art is one of the ways that we regularly delve into our feelings. After our recent visit to the NC Art Musuem, I decided that we could use our discussions on our trip to inspire our own art.

We settled down at the kitchen table with some watercolor paper and oil pastels. We started by talking about all the paintings we had seen and how they made us feel. Belle was mesmerized by two paintings in particular, one of a storm at sea (I really wish I had written down the name of it!) and the other was The Eruption of Mt. Vesuvius by Volaire.

She started by recreating each of these paintings in her own way. We talked about the color choices and the emotions that they conveyed.

Then we moved on to our own creations. Sad was represented by blues, grays, and silver. I'm not sure what led to the line composition, but Belle was really happy with the way it turned out.

Happy was shown with bright, vivid colors and lots of flowers.

And my personal favorite, calm (a bit of a hidden message, you think???), is a drawing of the mountain river where we are buying some land. It is drawn with pastel shades and gentle waves.

It was relaxing to sit and watch Belle work. And the conversations we had were priceless. A fantastic art experience!

Sunday, August 1, 2010


We took a family visit to the NC Museum of Art this morning. Belle and I had a great time looking at each painting, talking about what we saw, deciding what emotion the piece conveyed, and wondering what was happening in lots of pieces. (I'm not really sure how my husband and Bee felt about the adventure, but we didn't really ask their opinions:)

One of the best parts of our local museum is the outdoor sculpture garden and walk. The enormity of many of the pieces is simply awe-inspiring. One piece that particularly caught our eye today was Askew by Roxy Paine. It is a massive metal leafless tree. It shines in the sunlight and reflects the world around it. Truly beautiful!

We used this grand tree as inspiration for an afternoon art project. This was so simple that Belle could do most of it by herself with just a bit of help with attaching the pieces.

We pulled out a roll of aluminum foil, ripped off several pieces and started smushing. I built a basic round base and wrapped it around the large trunk. From there, Belle made branches and put them on the tree. I pinched each branch in place and before we knew it we had our very own version of Paine's masterpiece.

So next time you're visiting you won't need to wonder about the unusual centerpiece on our kitchen table:)