Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Fabric Barrel

One of the other things we did while I was visiting the West Coast was go to Solvang to the Fabric Barrel.  I read about it first on Homemade by Jill and knew it was a "must stop" place this time.

It's unlike any store I've ever been in.  It's a couple different rooms with an outside walkway between them.  There are rolls upon rolls of fabric.  I kid you not.  I should have taken pictures but I was so overwhelmed I didn't even think about it.  There were knits and sheers and cotton blends.  It was amazing.  They have cutting tables set up with measuring tapes and scissors.  You cut your own fabric and then bring it up the sidewalk and into the cafe they own and pay for it there.  Oh and did I mention that all the fabric is 99¢ a yard?  Yes.  It's true.  ALL of it.

They also have thousands of zippers.  You know those giant Rubbermaid totes?  Yep, there were 9 of them full to the top with zippers of all colors.  And all the zippers were 5¢ a piece.  Five cents.  That is not a type-o.

photo from Homemade by Jill

Inwardly the .99¢ sign bothers me.  It means less than a penny per yard.  Clearly that's not how much it really is.  It's something that has bothered me since my 8th grade algebra class with Mr. Rizzuti.  He brought it up as a pet peeve and ever since I've noticed whenever anyone does it.   Even some of the grocery stores in town do it.  I've always wanted to call them out on it but never have.  My luck I'd have to explain the whole thing and they still wouldn't get it.

Anyway, back to the fabric.

I knew I had a limited amount of room in my suitcase so I was a little particular with my choices.  I did end up with 18 yards of fabric... and 63 zippers.  Roughly.  I've counted them twice and keep coming up with a different number, first I got 60 and then 62.  Whatever.  They charged me for 63 at 5¢ a piece but it's not like 15¢ will break me.

Aren't they pretty?

I think most of them are like 9" long, which will be perfect if I decide I want to make some little zippered bags for makeup and other whatnot.  And I'm sure I can find some sort of project to use all these delightful zippers on.  I should have gotten more.  They were such a good deal!

I got 2 checked and 2 plaids.  

And 3 assorted dotty patterns.

And 2 funky florals.

I can hardly wait to get started on a project.  I just need to decide what to make.


Friday, February 24, 2012

Favorite Things Friday: Vacation Edition

For a week I was in Santa Barbara visiting my family and helping my sister with her impending nuptials.  I spent a week away from my baby two-year-old when I had previously spent exactly ZERO days away from him ever.  Like, ever.  Never an overnight stay at Frank's parents house.  Never a weekend away doing something "couple-like" with Frank.  Never, ever, anything.

I had some mama guilt.  For sure.  But it was really fun and the boys survived.  Frank texted photos and quotes and I talked to them a few times in my week away.  I didn't want to call everyday and have Ez freak out and miss me so I didn't.

So here are some of my favorites from my vacation, in no particular order.

Surfboards on the ceiling at Esau's Cafe.  Holly and my mom and I went one morning for breakfast and it was fantastic.  I got pancakes (which are arguably one of my favorite foods) and they had the best maple syrup.  It was thick and maple-y and so yummy.

Exploring Meridian Studios with my mom.  We were scouting places for Holly and Ryan to have their engagement pictures done.  Walking by, you'd hardly notice it.  A large stone wall with an ornate iron gate partially blocks the view in.  And the gates were closed.  But it wasn't locked, so we decided to go in anyway.  

The buildings are beautiful and all the studios have their own entrance with sea green doors.  It was quiet and peaceful with a bubbling fountain in the middle.  It would be a great place to have an office and I'm jealous of anyone who has one there.

Meeting Erica's boyfriend Austin.  His personality was exactly the way I envisioned it.  (I had already seen pictures on facebook)  He was polite and friendly and smitten with my little sister.  And she seems pretty crazy about him, too.  

3-2-1 Wheat germ pancakes from East Beach Grill.  It's one of my favorite places to eat in SB.  I love breakfast food and clearly I'm a fan of pancakes (see above).  One of the best parts is the view --- which I also should have taken a picture of but I'm still pretty new to this blogging stuff and I forgot.  We sat outside and watched the pigeons swarm around and pick food off people's plates after they left.  Dumb birds.

Enjoying an Ice Blended from the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf before my flight home.  The new Santa Barbara Airport is open and I was surprised by how beautiful it was.  I was used to the little one story hacienda, walking down the stairs and directly onto the tarmac, and collecting my luggage from a car port.  The Airport now has 2 stories and actual jetways.  The baggage claim is still sort of like it was --- a real indoor building with an open air area where the little tram brings the luggage over and they slide it down a sheet metal slide to you.  I like it.  Plus there's a Coffee Bean in there.  Win.

I had a really fun trip and we made headway on lots of wedding stuff, including finding Holly's dress and the bridesmaids dresses, finding a fabric for the table runners, working on flowers and invites and music and food...  It was a busy week but so much fun.


Monday, February 13, 2012

Toddler Snack Mix Valentines

Ezra is excited about Valentine's Day this year.  He doesn't really get it, but has developed a love for hearts.  I found a post on Baby Steps 365 that had a toddler snack mix and I thought it was a really cute idea.  It isn't candy - which is nice - and it was really easy.

The cast of characters

The ratio I used was 2 cups of Frosted Cheerios, 1 cup of Teddy Grahams, 1/2 cup Vanilla Yogurt Raisins, and 1/2 cup Strawberry Yogurt Melts.  

It looks pretty tasty

I got these cello bags at the Target dollar spot.  Ez loves "robot friends" so he was delighted when I gave him these to hold when he was riding in the cart a couple weeks ago.

I filled each bag with a 1/2 cup of snack mix and twisted them closed with the silver twist-ties that came with the bags.  Then I wrote on some of the bigger foam heart stickers and stuck them on each bag.  Hopefully they don't fall off, but if they do, we'll come up with a new plan.  

And I hope the parents in Ezra's room at daycare won't be afraid of it because it isn't packaged.  In my opinion, two year olds don't need a bunch of sugar pulsing through their little bodies from the candy usually attached to Valentines.  

Cute, huh?


Sunday, February 12, 2012

Rockin' Valentines

Lenon is in 5th grade this year; it's the end of his elementary career and probably the end of exchanging Valentines with the whole class.  We decided to do something more fun this year.  I found the idea for Pop Rocks Valentines on someone's blog somewhere.  No idea where, so I can't even give credit where credit is due.

buy the Pop Rocks here 

I got the Pop Rocks on Amazon... big surprise.  They were a little expensive.  But since this is the last year he'll be doing them, I thought it would be okay to have really cool ones.  I made a little couple different labels using Power Point and printed them off.  And the foam stickers came from Target's dollar spot.  

I made the messages pretty generic.  No "lovey-dovey" stuff for Lenon.

Lenon nixed my idea of coloring in the guitars.  He thought it was dorky.  I colored in my samples... and I thought they looked cool.  But whatever.  It's his deal.  So we stuck the labels to the Pop Rocks using the little foam stickers and viola.  Done!  We decided not to write everyone's name on them, simply for ease of handing them out.  

He's pretty pumped about them.  And they do look cool. 

What do you think?


Friday, February 3, 2012

Favorite Things Friday: Kitchen Stuff

Frank has a love for all things kitchen.  He loves gadgets, utensils, storage items, dishes, you name it.  If people ask for ideas for gifts for him I always go back to "kitchen stuff."

He really likes cooking, which is good for me because I think it's okay, but prefer baking.  What's weird though is he's very particular about sticking to recipes.  He HATES when a recipe calls for a "dash" or a "pinch" of anything.

Frank:  "My fingers are fat sausages so my "pinch" is way bigger than yours."
(That may or may not be a direct quote)

Anyway, because he loves kitchen stuff I've started to like kitchen stuff.  My faves are a little more basic than his.  But here are a few.

purchase them at JCPenney or at Amazon

Lock & Lock containers.  They are the BEST food storage on earth.  You can put them in the microwave, fridge or freezer.  They don't stain or warp.  The lids snap on and stay on.  You have no idea how many times these have fallen on the floor and yet have NEVER broken open.  Try that with Ziploc containers or Gladware.  They are a bit pricey--- The set pictured above is an image from Amazon and they're $34.97 for the set of 14 containers and 14 lids.  You can also get them at JCPenney - and now that they're doing their new pricing thing (if you haven't heard about it, Google it) the sets are pretty inexpensive.  The link above will take you to a $20 set that includes 8 containers and 8 lids.  So if you want to try them out, that's probably a better way to go.  

Frank's mom got us started on these.  We got a couple sets one Christmas.  I groaned inwardly when I opened them... the last thing we needed were more food storage things.  But once we started using them we threw out 3/4 of our supply of food storage.  We kept a few weird sized containers that we haven't been able to find in Lock & Locks.  Now if we could just figure out a storage solution, we'd be set.

purchase it here

We began our love affair with this Oxo spatula years ago.  We got one on a whim at Linens N Things (when we still had one in town - probably 5 years ago).  We got this same color and have used it almost daily since then.  She has a companion now -- an exact twin and they remain our favorites.  Frank and I have had the discussion with a few people, but we have always called these types of devices "spatulas" and we've called these "spatulas" too.  Some people call the photo above a "turner" or a "flipper" but I prefer "spatula" -- and if I'm wrong, so what?

purchase them here

These Oxo angled measuring cups were a wedding gift.  We use them all the time and they're wonderful.  I love that I don't have to hold it up to my face and hope I don't spill when I'm checking the side to see if I have the right amount of whatever in them, because the measurements are at an angle on the inside.  

purchase it here

This is the Mr. Coffee Frappe maker.  It's my very own "frappuccino" machine in my house.  It brews coffee in the top and then blends the ice/caramel syrup/milk (or whatever you want) in the carafe when it's done brewing the coffee.  It's fabulous and wonderful and I love it.  I got mine at Bed Bath and Beyond and it ended up only costing me about $30.  I had a 20% off coupon and a $25 gift card I had gotten from some points at work.  So in place of about 6 Starbucks drinks I got something that can make me hundreds of drinks.  And Frank likes it, too.  

purchase it here

This cereal container is a life saver.  We like cereal, but don't through a box very quickly.  We have two of these babies and they keep cereal fresh forever.  On Amazon they're like $12 - which is crazy.  Ours are Rubbermaid brand but they look just like these but the red part is gray.  I got them at Target and they were $6.99 each.  So if you're going to get some, check around.

What are your favorite kitchen products?